Home Why School SportContents of current issueCompetitions/Raising Funds Take Part
Back Issues SubscribingSupplier Listings LinksTestimonials
Media Information

News Results/Fixtures Job Vacancies Teacher Blog

School Sport Awards U17 National Schools Cricket Cup Entry/Rules
U13 National Schools Rugby Union Cup Entry/RulesU13 National Schools Netball Entry/Rules



STOP PRESS...STOP PRESS...STOP PRESS...STOP PRESS...

Come to this page for all the late breaking news

LATEST NEWS

Back to latest news


14.12.09

A try five minutes from time enabled England U18s to come from behind five times in a pulsating game against Australia Schools at Heywood Road and extend their unbeaten run to 18 games.

England finished winners by four tries to three after an exhilarating contest in which the lead changed hands repeatedly before replacement Tommy Bell from the Sale Sharks Academy, rounded off a fine movement for the match-winning score after 65 minutes.

Coach John Fletcher was understandably delighted with his side in all aspects of their game.

He said: “I'm very, very pleased. It was a great game of rugby - we both passed the ball around and scored some fine tries. Who says teams in the Northern Hemisphere can't play rugby?

“I knew that Australia would be dangerous in broken play and they lived up to expectations, but we stuck with it and I thought that for large parts of the game we were the better side. We played some good rugby and we kept going at the end, which was great.”

England were in contention at the interval thanks to a smart piece of work by scrum-half Dan Robson at a quickly-taken throw-in, the No 9 seizing the chance to catch Australia napping and give lock Dominic Barrow time and space to gather the ball and dive over for the first try of the game after 18 minutes.

Fly-half George Ford hit the woodwork with the conversion, but he was successful with penalty kicks after 22 and 30 minutes to keep his side in the hunt.

The tourists were always threatening in broken play and created a handful of openings with strong counter-attacking, but it was not until first-half injury time that the tourists finally broke through with a try by No 8 and captain Jordan Tuapou.

Fly-half Rohan Saifoloi added the conversion to his earlier hat trick of penalties to give the tourists a 16-11 half-time advantage, but that was short lived as a penalty try for deliberate knock-on, converted by Ford, restored England's lead.

The second-half was a frenetic nip-and-tuck affair to the final whistle, tricky wingman Kimami Sitauti twice rounding off smart handling movements for tries for the tourists and Saifoloi adding a conversion.

England, however, stuck tenaciously to the challenge, edging in front with a smart try from replacement scrum-half Joel Hodgson 21 minutes into the second-half and then snatching the prize in the closing minutes when Hodgson was held just short after a flowing movement from inside their own half and Bell was on hand to drive over.


11.12.09

England U18 coach John Fletcher is under no illusions about the size of the challenge facing his side when they take on Australia Schools at Sale FC's Heywood Road headquarters this Sunday at 2pm.

The junior Wallabies conceded four tries to two in their opening game of a four-match tour at Lymm RFC yesterday, but a 27-12 victory for an England Regional Academies XV has not seduced Fletcher into underestimating the calibre of the tourists.

“There is no doubt that it will be a tougher game for the England lads simply because their opponents are an U19 squad and a year older,” says Fletcher:

“We're also putting together a completely new squad and while our last outing brought a 45-13 victory over South Africa in Kimberley, the group of players on duty at Sale on Sunday will be quite different.

“That said, we have some very gifted players who will not relinquish their unbeaten run of 17 games without a struggle.

“Australia, in contrast, will remember our last reverse, an 11-3 defeat the last time the teams met in 2007 at Ballymore, and will be keen to repeat that success and get their tour back on track after yesterday's opening defeat at Lymm.”

While Saracens fly-half Jake Sharp, who has played Guinness Premiership rugby for his club, was the centre of attention at Lymm - and justified that focus with a try, two conversions and a penalty - on Sunday the presence of Leicester Tigers fly-half and Rishworth schoolboy George Ford is bound to be of special interest.

He recently made his first-team debut for the Welford Road club at the age of 16 and in doing so became the youngest player ever to appear in a professional club game.

England U18 squad:

Forwards - Nick Auterac (Oaklands College & Saracens), Dominic Barrow (Prince Henry's GS & Leeds Carnegie), Ant Brennan (Twyford C of E & London Wasps), Koree Britton (Ivybridge College & Exeter Chiefs), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Truro College & Exeter Chiefs), Matt Kvesic (Worcester 6th Form College & Worcester Warriors), George Merrick (Whitgift & Harlequins), Nathan Morris (Sedbergh & Newcastle Falcons), Sam Northcote-Green (Dulwich College & London Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Epsom College & Harlequins), Sam Twomey (Dulwich College & Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Harrow & London Wasps), Chris Walker (Prince Henry's GS & Leeds Carnegie).

Backs - Tommy Bell (Sale Sharks), Elliott Daly (Whitgift & London Wasps), Jamie Elliott (Bedford & Northampton Saints), George Ford (Rishworth & Leicester Tigers), Joel Hodgson (RGS Newcastle & Newcastle Falcons), Mark Jennings (Lymm HS & Sale Sharks), Ben Ransom (Tonbridge & Saracens), Dan Robson (Hartpury College & Gloucester), Charlie Walker (Oakham & Leicester Tigers), Marland Yarde (Whitgift & London Irish).


8.12.09

Reed's School, from Surrey (U13/U15 boys), Queenswood School (U13 girls) and Coopers Company & Coborn School, from Upminster (U15 girls) were all crowned Aegon National Schools Tennis champions (for a full report and pictures check out the January edition of School Sport Magazine)


8.12.09

The cream of England's aspiring rugby union stars will be battling it out in Gloucestershire next week when they face two matches against the touring Australian School's team.

Hartpury College is the venue on Wednesday (16th) when a Regional U19 Academies XV face the Aussie tourists (2pm) who, just three days earlier, will have played their only full international on the England stage of their seven match tour against the England U18 team at Sale FC.

From that Hartpury match and the previous Sunday's opening Regional game at Lymm RFC, also against the tourists, the U19 England Academies team will be selected to play the visitors in their final tour match at Cinderford RFC on Saturday (19th), kick-off 2pm.

The sides for both matches will, with one exception, all be drawn from English registered players currently signed to one of the 14 Guinness Premiership clubs and, for many, it will prove to be another stepping stone towards full international honours.


7.12.09

Dr Challoner's Grammar School, from Amersham (U13 boys), St Anselm's College, Birkenhead (U15 boys), Southend High School for Girls (U13 girls) and Guildford High School (U15 girls) were all crowned National Schools Cross Country Cup champions at Newquay in Cornwall at the weekend (for a full report and pictures check out the January edition of School Sport Magazine)


3.12.09

Arnold School (U14), Wakefield Girls High School (U16) and Cheadle Hulme (U18) have been crowned north of England girls hockey champions.

They will be joined in the national finals in March by runners-up Wakefield Girls High School (U14), Altrincham Girls Grammar School (U16) and Pocklington School (U18).


3.12.09

England have named a 23-man squad for next weekend's U18 international against Australian Schools.

Head coach John Fletcher's side take on the tourists at Sale FC's Heywood Road ground on Sunday December 13 at 2pm.

England are unbeaten at this level in 17 games - 12 of them internationals - since an 11-3 defeat in their last meeting with Australia in the summer of 2007.

But this is a new squad with only a handful of survivors from the side that finished last season by beating South Africa 45-13 in Kimberley.

One of those returning is George Ford, the fly half who made his first team debut for Leicester Tigers at the age of 16 in the LV= Cup last month, becoming the youngest player ever to appear in a professional club game.

The others are back row forward Billy Vunipola, who joined London Wasps from Bristol this summer and started against South Africa as a 16-year-old, and lock Dominic Barrow (Leeds Carnegie), who appeared against Boland on the summer tour.

Forwards: Nick Auterac (Oaklands College), Dominic Barrow (Prince Henry's GS), Ant Brennan (Twyford CofE), Koree Britton (Ivybridge College), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Truro College), Matt Kvesic (Worcester Sixth Form College), George Merrick (Whitgift), Nathan Morris (Sedbergh), Sam Northcote-Green (Dulwich College), Kyle Sinckler (Epsom College), Sam Twomey (Dulwich College), Billy Vunipola (Harrow), Chris Walker (Prince Henry's GS)

Backs: Elliott Daly (Whitgift), Jamie Elliott (Bedford), George Ford (Rishworth), Joel Hodgson (RGS Newcastle), Mark Jennings (Lymm HS); Ryan Mills (Hartpury College), Ben Ransom (Tonbridge), Dan Robson (Hartpury College), Charlie Walker (Oakham), Marland Yarde (Whitgift)


1.12.09

Nottingham High School pupil and national relay orienteering champion, James Taylor, 18, has been accepted for the 2009/10 Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme, (TASS), for the second year running.

James is one of twenty one British orienteers to be awarded TASS this year – a Government funded programme that represents a unique partnership between sport and higher and further education institutions.

The programme facilitates a service provision for talented athletes that are committed to combining their sport and education.

James will receive a comprehensive package of support including strength and conditioning physiotherapy, lifestyle support, screening and participation in a medical scheme as well as access to coaching, sport science, nutrition and psychology services.

“This is a fantastic achievement for James,” said Kevin Fear, headmaster at Nottingham High School. “He has also just returned from another training session with the Great Britain squad coaches as part of the World Class Programme where he excelled once again. We are very proud of him.”


1.11.09

Dr Challoner’s High School teacher Claire Kemp has been named netball teacher of the year in the England Netball Goalden Globe Awards.

Claire founded and coached the Southern Storm NC for a year group in her school in Buckinghamshire and entered them in league and cup competitions.


30.11.09

Julie House, PE teacher at Our Lady of Sion School and organiser of Sussex NRG Netball Club, has won the Sussex County Sports Partnership Award Coach of the Year.

Julie won the award for her coaching skills and her ability to convey her enthusiasm in her specialist sport of netball.

The awards were presented by Derek Redmond, one of Britain’s greatest 400m runners, and were sponsored by SkillsActive, the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure and Learning.

Headmaster Michael Scullion said: “We are all very proud of Julie and feel this is a fine and well-deserved achievement.”

Julie added: “It's very rewarding to be recognised for putting in all the hours of planning, coaching, managing matches and doing all the admin, as well as fitting in work and a family life too.’


30.11.09

Truro College pupil Luke Cowan-Dickie has received a Calum Johnston Scholarship from the Youth Sport Trust.

The £2,000 award will help the 16-year-old prop forward progress a rugby career that has already seen him play for England at junior international level.

Luke, who is a member of the Exeter Chiefs Academy, appeared for England's U16 side last season and was named in the England U18 squad in September.

“He's a very talented young player and out of all the squad we felt he was the one that would benefit most from the extra assistance because of his circumstances and where he lives,” said England U18 head coach John Fletcher.

“He'll sit down with (academy manager) Robin Cowling and the Exeter Chiefs, Truro College and his parents and come up with a plan to support him in priority areas, whether that is in nutrition, transport or with equipment.

“We're very grateful to Calum Johnston's family and the Youth Sport Trust for the award and I'm sure it will make a significant contribution to his development as a player.”

The scholarship is awarded in memory of Calum, who died in 2005 at the age of 14.

His family created a sponsorship fund to help promising young athletes in each of Calum's favourite sports - athletics, canoeing and rugby.

It is administered by the Youth Sport Trust, the charity whose mission is to build a brighter future for young people by enhancing the quality of physical education and sporting opportunities.

This year's other scholarship award winners are young sprinter Jodie Williams, from Hertfordshire, and kayaker Ryan Westley, from Bristol.

Luke Cowan-Dickie's older brother Tom is also on the Chiefs' books and part of an U19 regional academy squad that plays Australian Schools at Hartpury College on December 16.


24.11.09

Wyvern School, Ashford, has been selected by Volleyball England to become one of only eight national development centres for Sitting Volleyball and is now actively seeking new players.

The school, known for its great work in developing disability sport, was short listed for this prestigious award in August.

And it was the school’s good links with the Mid Kent & Ashford School Sport Partnership and Tom Middleton, Kent County Council volleyball development officer, that sealed the deal.

The school will receive funding and equipment to recruit and develop a mixed group of junior and senior able bodied and disabled sitting volleyball players, particularly women.

A small number of able bodied and disabled players, including two members of the Great Britain Women’s Sitting Volleyball squad, train every Thursday between 6.30pm and 8.30pm at Wyvern.

Since Britain’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Sitting Volleyball has grown in popularity.

It is a very quick and exciting game to play and watch, easy and fun to play at a recreational level and also, with higher level technical and tactical skills, players have the opportunity for higher representation.

As players sit on the floor, the game has few sports injuries and is easy to play even in smaller gymnastic or sport halls, including squash courts.

Able bodied players have no advantage over disabled players, making the game very suitable for integrating able and disabled players. The game is also an excellent vehicle for players returning from injury during rehabilitation.

Young, old, male, female, disabled, non disabled, sporty or not - everyone is welcome. No special equipment is needed, just turn up in a tracksuit and t-shirt with a drink of water.

If you would like more information please contact Tom Middleton on 07710772533 or thomas@middleton2012.freeserve.co.uk


23.11.09

More than 100 players from eight further education and sixth form colleges from across North Lancashire took part in a successful 10-a-side tournament at Preston Grasshoppers' Lightfoot Green headquarters.

With the aim of providing competition for colleges and students who do not play rugby on a regular basis, the 10s format was chosen to allow colleges more scope in raising a team.

The event, organised by Preston Community Rugby Coach Kai Burns, was a joint initiative between Preston Grasshoppers and the North Lancashire development team who ran the event as part of the RFU strategy of increasing participation amongst 16-19-year-olds.

Cardinal Newman and Preston College, two colleges close to Lightfoot Green, were joined by Nelson & Colne College, Burnley College, Lancaster & Morecambe College (LMC), Baines Sixth Form and Our Ladies College, Lancaster, who entered two teams.

For Newman College, the tournament provided their first game of rugby in recent years after they had worked towards the event with CRC Burns and Student Coordinating Officer Farook Khan by firstly recruiting at their enrichment fair and then training at Grasshoppers.

Other colleges had preceded this event with a friendly, while Preston College used the tournament as an opportunity to field some of their squad players who do not regularly make their starting line-up for British College fixtures.

The eight teams were initially split into two groups, playing in a round robin league, with Baines emerging victorious with a 5-0 win over Lancaster & Morecambe College after the pair finished at the top of their respective groups.

After the pool games had been completed, teams had an additional game against the teams finishing in the same position in the other league.

In that concluding series of games, second placed Preston College beat Nelson & Colne College to win the plate competition 19-5, while the two third placed teams, Cardinal Newman College and Burnley College, shared the spoils in the bowl competition with a 10-10 draw.

Our Lady's 1 and Our Lady's 2, both fourth in their group, contested the trophy competition with Our Lady's 1 winning 17-7.

Having successfully identified that all the colleges involved do have a significant rugby contingent, they will now be supported in arranging and contesting further fixtures before a follow-on event on Wednesday, March 24, 2010.


20.11.09

School Sport Magazine’s new national U17 schools cricket competition has received the backing of one of school cricket’s greatest supporters.

David English, whose wonderful Bunbury U13 Schools Cup has been part of the summer calendar for many year, enthused: “Your number one fan thinks this is a great idea.”

David, who next year will be celebrating the 24th anniversary of his Bunbury ESCA U15 Festival at Chester University from July 26-30, added: “You publish everything that is relevant about school sport so anything that encourages young players from all schools playing cricket is to be welcomed.

“In fact this is ideal as it plugs the gap between U15 level and U19 by offering more competitive cricket for a very important age group.”

The new competition, which will be open to all state and independent schools with sixth forms as well as sixth form colleges, will run throughout the 2010 summer term between April and July with the final in September.

Open to boys aged U17 on August 31 this year, the 40-over competition will run on a regional basis in the early rounds and will be open to schools in England, Wales and Scotland.

Phil Tusler, publishing editor of School Sport Magazine, said: “We have enjoyed supporting and celebrating school sport in all its forms over the last five years so this is a natural progression for us.

“The English Schools Cricket Association do a fantastic job running national competitions at U11, U13 and U15 level so an U17 competition will complement that superbly.

“It will be a great chance for teams who have played together for a number of years to stay together for a further season.

“And as it’s mainly for boys in the first year of sixth form between their GCSE and A-Level studies, it will hopefully encourage more players to develop their skills in a competitive environment and also stay involved with the game for longer.”

Schools who wish to pre-register for the competition should email info@schoolsportmag.co.uk

Letters and entry forms will be sent out to heads of cricket/heads of sport in the next two weeks.

Further details with rules and regulations are available on a separate page of the website.


20.11.09

Sandwich Technology School in Kent have celebrated the opening of a new floodlit, 3rd generation artificial grass pitch.

The new state-of-the-art playing surface will greatly enhance sporting opportunities for the school’s own students and has already become the home of Ramsgate FC Academy, which offers full-time football scholarships to talented male and female players aged between 16 and 18 years.

Use by the wider community is also encouraged and bookings can be made by telephoning the Sandwich Sports and Leisure Centre on 01304 614947.

The Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity, funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, provided £309,205 towards the project.

Sandwich Technology School were also previously awarded two free sets of football strips and equipment worth £400 each by the Football Foundation through its Junior Kit Scheme.

Colin Aldred, Director of Community Learning and Extended Schools at Sandwich Technology School, said: “We have been blown away by the response of both our own students and community members. The floodlights make after school matches possible throughout the winter season and the pitch has been in use constantly since its installation.


19.11.09

Hundreds of school children in East London were treated to a different lesson in healthy eating and sports as they got the chance to try surf sports – all possible without the need for a beach or waves courtesy of Calypso’s Surf Anywhere campaign.

The Aquajuice 67 ‘Surf Anywhere’ team visited Cumberland School Specialist Sports and Applied Learning College in Newham, as part of School Meals Week and the “Get Active’ Day.

Calypso provided surf coaches from The British Surfing Association (BSA) and Street Surfing and introduced over 400 children to the sport.

The campaign aims to combine healthy eating and exercise attracting many pupils who would be unlikely to gain access to the sport otherwise.

Cumberland School’s director of sport Jo Doyle: “The event exceeded all our expectations and was an incredible opportunity for our pupils to try something new in PE.

“They loved every minute of it and have learned new skills which they can use not only in sport but also in life.

“It was really good to see them smile, have fun, try something new and not be scared of it. I’d love to get the Surf Anywhere team back in so all 1400 of our pupils can try it. I’d recommend it whole heartedly to other schools.”

While visiting the school, the Surf Anywhere coaches were scouting for new, young surf talent in the quest to boost their talent bank and find Britain’s surfing stars of the future.

Those who demonstrated the most potential in terms of balancing skills and attitude will be invited to attend an all expenses paid Surfing Academy courtesy of Calypso Aquajuice 67, to be held in Cornwall at Easter next year.

According to Surf Anywhere’s head coach Karl Fice-Thomson: “Sixty per cent of our best British surfers are originally from inner cities and we want to increase the volume of young talent coming through so we can continue to compete on the world stage. We wanted to find at least two potential surf stars in Newham to attend our Surf Academy.”

Leading British Surf star - 15-year-old British Junior Team surfing champion Tassy Swallow - also attended the event to inspire the students at the Olympic zone school and showed what it takes to make the grade.


18.11.09

Sheffield High School have brought the GDST Senior Netball Trophy back to the city as National Trust Champions.

The team travelled to Nottingham High School for the competition and were drawn in a tough section with 22 of the top Girls’ Day School Trust schools from all over the country.

But they won all four matches in their pool including beating the hosts Nottingham HS 8-6 before defeating Shrewsbury HS 3-0 in the quarter finals.

Four-two down in the semi finals against last year’s winners Putney HS, they went onto win 8-7 before beating Croydon HS 7-5 in the final to win the trophy for the first time.

Sheffield HS now have their sights set on the Sporting Destinations National Schools Trophy and kick off their bid in the county stages next week.


18.11.09

Gold medal winners and champions from the worlds of athletics, boxing, gymnastics and BMX are among the sports stars available to inspire and motivate 11-16 year old pupils as part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme.

Now in its seventh year, the free online programme has been developed by the Youth Sport Trust to provide schools with the chance to create flexible projects that use the power of sport to help young people realise their potential.

An integral part of the initiative is the offer of a school visit by one of a selection of athlete mentors, who have been handpicked by the Youth Sport Trust based on their inspiring personal journeys to achieve success.

During the visits, which participating schools can register for, the sports mentors will share their own experiences as a young person and an athlete to show pupils how they can be the best they can be.

Olympic badminton star Gail Emms explained: “I am excited and honoured to be continuing in my role as athlete mentor. Through my own involvement, I have first hand experience of how finding something you are passionate about can open the doors to success.

“It has been a privilege to have been involved in the project over the last year. I hope that my continued involvement will encourage young people to follow their dreams.”

The athletes, 10 of which are new for 2009/2010, aim to instil values such as belief, determination, people skills and time management.

Steve Grainger, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust said: “We're delighted that we have such a talented and motivating pool of athletes to support our programme this year.

“They are an inspiring group of individuals who are already looking forward to visiting schools, sharing their personal stories and playing big role in supporting the work of teachers to encourage pupils to embark on their own journeys of development."

This year's 16 sports stars are British wheelchair rugby player Steve Brown, sprinter Darren Campbell, swimmers Chris Cook and Adam Whitehead, British women’s hockey player Alex Danson, judo champion Tom Davis, badminton star Gail Emms, boxers Dermot Gascoyne and Darran Langley, sailor Joe Glanfield, gymnast Steve Frew, rugby player Chris Horsman, Tahi boxing champion Rachael MacKenzie, world bobsleigh champion Nicola Minichiello, World bobsleigh champion, world BMX champion Mike Mullen, Paralympian athlete Tim Prendergast and England women's rugby player Katy Storie.

To date, 20,000 young people in over 600 schools have benefited since the programme began in 2003 and over 200 schools have already signed up this year.


17.11.09

Twenty four schools and 600 runners will take place at the 29th ESAA Schools Cross Country Cup Finals at Newquay Tretherras School in Cornwall on Saturday December 5.

The first race will start at 1.00pm with four races in total for boys and girls at U13 and U15 level.

Recognised as the premier schools’ team cross country event in England, more than 8000 school athletes took part in the first round trials.

Recent regional competitions saw a host of talented qualifiers supplying at least two teams to the finals including St Anselm’s College, Prenton, Westholme School, Blackburn, Southend High School for Boys, Trinity School, Croydon, James Allen’s Girls School, London, Bromsgrove School, Helsby High School, Frodsham, Aylesbury High School, Dr Challoner’s High School, Amersham, Loughborough High School, Ermysted’s Grammar School, Skipton, Central Newcastle High School, Fitzwimarc School, Rayleigh and Southend High School for Girls.

Hosts Newquay Tretherras have qualified in the U13 girls final.


17.11.09

Oundle School’s U18 netball team were crowned Northamptonshire county champions in the Sporting Destinations National Schools Netball Championships.

Oundle won all six games beating Wellingborough 8-5, Northampton High School 8-3, Bishop Stopford 10-2, Guildborough 12-2, Pitsford 15-0 and Caroline Chisholm School 16-3.

Captain Grace Buck said: “We were a little apprehensive prior to the first match against Wellingborough, who had proved to be stiff competition in a recent district tournament. We quickly settled into the game however and it concluded with a final score of 8-5.”

“The team played well, lifting their game and standard of play to be victorious in every match. Each member of the team excelled, although particular credit must be given to the shooting success and accuracy of both Zoe Rice and Charlotte Taylor.”

The victory means the Oundle team will progress to the regional championships in January.

Laetitia Eich, head of girls' games, added: “I am delighted to see our netball players continue to be a successful team at such a high and competitive level.

“They are developing and demonstrating the invaluable skills of determination and team work and I wish them all the best for the next tournament under the expert supervision of their coach Ms Burnham.”


17.11.09

Pupils from St Lawrence C of E Primary School from Church Stretton in Shropshire had the experience of a lifetime when they played at Twickenham as a curtain-raiser to the recent England v Australia international.

St Lawrence's appearance was their reward for winning this year's Tag 2 Twickenham programme when they beat holders Holy Trinity Lamorbey C of E Primary School from Sidcup in Kent with a golden try in extra-time on The Close at Rugby School after the scored were level after normal time.

The two schools faced each other again at Twickenham in a demonstration game of Tag Rugby - a popular non-contact version of rugby - which promoted the growth of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) YAZOO Tag Rugby Scheme.

Now in its third year, the T2T Programme offered over 35,000 children a pathway to play at Twickenham through local and regional festivals and the national final at Rugby School.

The RFU YAZOO Tag Rugby Scheme is an example of the RFU and YAZOO's commitment to supporting grassroots sports in the UK. Since the YAZOO sponsorship began, the programme has reached over 1,000,000 children.

The Sale Sharks and England winger Mark Cueto is an ambassador of the Yazoo scheme, who has been coaching youngsters and helping raise money for schools to support the project.

Andrew Scoular, the RFU's Director of Community Rugby, said: “The RFU is committed to supporting grassroots rugby at all levels. The YAZOO tag rugby scheme is a far reaching community programme which covers the whole of England and encourages participation in sport and the pursuit of a safer and healthier lifestyle.”


16.11.09

Coopers Company & Coborn School, from Upminster in Essex, have become the first winners of the State Sports School of the Year in the 2009 School Sport Magazine Awards.

Judges decided that the Essex sports college, who reached the final stages of a host of national competitions, demonstrated “a high-level of achievement at national level in a range of sports, both for boys and girls, and therefore fully deserved the award.”

Coopers were one of eight winners in the annual awards, now in their fifth year, run by School Sport Magazine, announced today.

In another new category, Whitgift School from Surrey have become the first winners of the Independent Sports School of the Year.

In a successful year for the school, Whitgift were crowned national boys U16 hockey champions, both indoors and outdoors, U13 Bunbury Cup cricket champions and U13 Rosslyn Park National Schools Rugby Sevens winners.

Primary School Sports Team of the Year were Bengeo Primary School in Hertfordshire who triumphed in the 2009 National Kwik Cricket Tournament at Headingley.

Their victory was all the more remarkable as the team have no cricket square at their school and had never even won their local district competition before.

Winner of the Girls Sports Team of the Year was Maltman’s Green School U11 gymnastic team, from Gerrard’s Cross in Buckinghamshire, who have been unbeaten in artistic schools gymnastics competitions for three years and this year notched up no less than four national titles.

Southend High School for Boys were deserved winners of the Boys Sports Team of the Year for winning the English Schools Cross Country Cup for the second year running with the lowest points total since the competition started in 1984.

Georgia Peel, 15, from Farnborough Hill School in Hampshire, won the sporting schoolgirl of the year award after taking an incredible eight seconds off the 1500m English Schools Athletics Championship record.

In a double triumph for schools athletics, Clovis Asong, 14, from Manchester’s Our Lady’s Catholic Sports College won the sporting schoolboy of the year title after breaking the junior boys 400m record in a time of 48.86s.

Gordon Campbell, from Winsley Primary School, near Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire was named Sports Teacher of the Year.

Phil Tusler, publishing editor of School Sport Magazine, said: "This has been a remarkable year for competitive sport in schools and the awards are a celebration of that.”

“We had hundreds of nominations this year and deciding the winners has been a difficult but very rewarding endeavour.”

Full details and further information about all the award winners can be found in the new edition of School Sport Magazine, published today.


13.11.09

Warden Park School, from Cuckfield in West Sussex, kept the flag flying for the state sector in the Daily Mail RGS U15 Rugby Union Cup by beating Cardinal Newman School 25-5 in the fourth round.

After leading 10-0 at the break, Richard Sharpe scored from the halfway line to secure a home fifth round tie against Portsmouth Grammar School.

Last year’s south east U14 champions have previously beaten Worth School, St Bede’s School, Redhill 55-0 and Crowborough’s Beacon Community School 27-10 in previous rounds.


10.11.09

Schools are being invited to enter a national sports competition with a difference.

The Inter-Schools Curling Championship at the end of March will be held at Fenton's Rink in Kent – and organisers are looking for more entrants.

To prepare schools for the championships, organisers are offering a five-week course with weekly or fortnightly two-hour sessions costing £6 per player.

The package includes ice fees, coaching and equipment hire and anyone interested can email Anna at curlinginkent@hotmail.com or call 01892 826004.


9.11.09

The nominations are all in, the judging panel has convened – now there’s less than a week to discover who has triumphed in the 2009 School Sport Awards.

The eight award winners – from state and independent sport schools of the year, to sports teacher of the year and girls and boys sports teams of the year - will be announced in the new edition of the magazine out next Monday November 16. Don’t miss it.


9.11.09

Britain’s number three tennis player James Ward visited Lea Valley Primary School in Tottenham to join pupils for their new-look lesson as part of the AEGON Schools Tennis programme.

The tennis lessons are part of a new strategy organised by the Tennis Foundation and the Lawn Tennis Association to increase children’s access to tennis.

And James, the world number 218, was there to see for himself what impact this is having on the Tottenham youngsters.

“The visit to Lea Valley was really enjoyable,” said 21-year-old James, who is originally from Euston. “I don’t normally get to work with kids, so giving them some of my experience and giving something back to the school is hopefully going to help them for the future. The pupils seemed to enjoy themselves and I really hope it’s encouraged them.”

Certainly the pupils seemed to have a great time mixing it with the best in the business:

“I got to meet James Ward and play tennis against him,” said eight-year old Asha Clarke. “He’s played at Wimbledon before so he’s really good. He helped us with our forehands and everybody got to play against him.

“We were all cheering very loud and it was a lot of fun. I really like playing tennis in school because I get to play with my friends and we do lots of different games with the rackets and balls.”

Nearly 2,000 equipment packs have now been provided to primary schools as part of the programme.

It provides a range of resources for schools, including an innovative coach-led DVD and demonstrates how tennis can be taught in small areas or large groups and seems to be going down a storm at Lea Valley:

“The kids absolutely love it and it was great to have James come and visit us,” said Lea Valley PE teacher Paul Cogan.

“The whole programme has changed the way we teach in school - being able to offer children a chance to get involved in the sport which we were previously not experienced to teach.

“The DVD ensures the correct technique can be demonstrated without the teacher needing to be a trained instructor which is a great idea. I really think a scheme like this should be developed for every sport in every school across the country.”

The 20 pupils who took part were treated to their special tennis lesson with James joining in as an honoury pupil for the day helping the pupils with their footwork and their shots, as well as being given the chance to ask James questions about his life as a professional tennis player.

And while Lea Valley’s sports hall may have been a world away from the grass courts of Wimbledon, this should have no impact on a child’s opportunity to take up the game, according to the Tennis Foundation.

“One of the biggest perceptions of tennis is that we’re a white middle class sport that is played in the suburbs,” said Paul Regan, head of education at the Tennis Foundation.

“Actually tennis can be played anywhere and I think the beauty of the sport is that we can take it into schools whether in rural settings or in socially deprived areas. It’s important we give everybody the chance to get involved.”

“And wherever we develop tennis and introduce tennis to children it’s really important that there is an exit route that is affordable and accessible.

“So for instance in the Tottenham area, there are 20 primary schools that have been involved in tennis and I would guess that many of those children would never have played prior to us taking it in to the school.

“Seven hundred children from those 20 schools have registered with the White Hart Lane Tennis Club – 60% of those are girls and 90% are from ethnic backgrounds. And that’s exactly the kind of thing we want to see more of.”


 

26.10.09

Scotland’s top school rugby sides join the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup today.

The top 16 seeds – which include big names such as High School of Dundee, Edinburgh Academy, Galashiels Academy and High School of Glasgow – will face the victors of the round three which saw the teams seeded from 17 to 32 come up against the unseeded victors from the previous round.

Having comfortably defeated Balfron High School in round three, St Aloysius’ College have drawn the unenviable task of facing title holders Fettes College in the U18 Cup while beaten finalists, Stewart’s Melville College, travel to Strathallan to stake a claim for another successful cup run.

In the U15 competition, last year’s runners up George Watson’s College await the result of a match between Royal High School and Kinross High School to find out who will stand between them and a place in the quarter-finals.

Colin Thomson, head of community rugby at Scottish Rugby, said: “It’s always a very exciting time for any competition when the top teams join the action and their arrival has lined up some very interesting match-ups indeed.

“Every year we have a lot of new rugby sides joining the competition and in order to maximise the enjoyment for these young players we opted to seed 32 of the rugby sides based on their progress in the previous year while continuing to offer a secondary and tertiary trophy – the plate and bowl.”


23.10.09

Bishop Perowne School from Worcestershire won the Army-sponsored West Midlands Schools Sevens tournament at Stourbridge's Stourton Park ground.

Bishop Perowne beat Kenilworth School from Warwickshire three tries to two in the final having topped their qualifying group.

Earlier in the semi finals, Bishop Perowne beat Woodlands School from Coventry 3-1 on tries while Kenilworth defeated Rawlett School from Tamworth 2-1.

The girls tag title went to The Chantry who beat Polesworth School from Warwickshire 7-5 in the final.

The Chantry finished as runners-up to Polesworth in their qualifying group but over-turned the form book after they had beaten Bishop Perowne 7-6 in a tight semi-final.

The girls contact tournament was won by Blessed Edwards from Worcestershire with William Brookes from Shropshire winning the development tournament.

The finals day marked an exciting end to the eighth Army West Midlands Schools Sevens which involved more than 1,100 youngsters, all aged under 16 in 94 teams in regional qualifying events staged in North Midlands, Warwickshire and Staffordshire.


19.10.09

Four Staffordshire and four Warwickshire schools have completed the line-up for this season's finals day of the Army-sponsored West Midlands Schools Sevens.

Rawlett School won the Staffordshire boys tournament at the regional qualifying event at Lichfield's Cooke Fields ground and will now go through to the finals day at Stourton Park, the home of National One club Stourbridge, on October 22.

They will be joined in the finals day by Madeley, who were beaten 33-7 by Rawlett in the final, and Aldridge and Painsley A who were first and second respectively in the girls league table.

In the Warwickshire tournament, Woodlands School from Coventry won the boys regional tournament at Leamington's Moorefields ground.

They will be joined in the finals day by Kenilworth School, who were beaten 28-21 by Woodlands in the final, and Polesworth A and St Benedicts who were first and second respectively in the girls league table.

The Warwickshire tournament featured eight schools in the boys tournament - Alcester GS, Alderbrooke, Woodlands, St Benedicts, Polesworth, Studley HS, Avon Valley and Kenilworth School - and five teams in the girls event - Polesworth A, Polesworth B, Stratford GS, Arden School and St Benedicts.

This is the eighth year of the West Midlands Schools Sevens competition, which will has involved more than 1,100 youngsters aged U16 playing in 94 teams in regional qualifying events in North Midlands, Warwickshire and Staffordshire to produce qualifiers for the finals day.

The full boy team line-up for the finals day is Woodlands School and Kenilworth School (Warwickshire), Church Stretton and Charlton (Shropshire), Rawlett and Madeley (Staffordshire), Coseley and Summerhill (Birmingham & Black Country), Nunnery Wood and Bishop Perowne (Worcestershire).

The girls tag rugby finalists are Polesworth and St Benedicts (Warwickshire), Church Stretton and Belvidere (Shropshire), Aldridge and Painsley A (Staffordshire), Shenley Court and Summerhill (Birmingham & Black Country), The Chantry and Bishop Perowne (Worcestershire).

Six teams will also compete in a girls contact tournament at the finals day - Blessed Edwards and North Bromsgrove (Worcestershire), William Brookes, Church Stretton and Marches (Shropshire) and The Chase from Worcestershire.


13.10.09

School sport specialists from across the country will share how they can leave a lasting Olympic and Paralympic legacy for millions of children at the 2009 School Sport Partnership conference in Telford this week.

With 1,000 days to go until London 2012, the conference, organised by the Youth Sport Trust, will explore the opportunities which exist around PE, coaching, competition, school-club links, leadership and volunteering in the build up to 2012 and beyond.

Themed ‘Delivering a Sustainable Legacy’, the conference will welcome speakers including Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, Olympic medallist swimmer Steve Parry, one of only three people in the world to have beaten American swimming sensation Michael Phelps in the pool, and multi-medal winning Paralympic swimmer Marc Woods.

Steve Grainger, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “We are entering a golden decade of sport across Britain, which of course includes London’s hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

“Even before we entered this golden age, huge improvements in the delivery of school sport have already been achieved but there is still more to do. This conference will see those responsible for delivering PE and school sport discussing further the incredible opportunities which exist to engage millions of children in sport.

“The exciting challenge ahead is to continue to help schools and school sport partnerships build on their successes, inspire future generations through PE and sport and leave a lasting legacy beyond 2012.”

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Ben Bradshaw MP, said: “With less than three years to London 2012, we need to grasp the opportunity to use the power of sport to change lives and improve the nation's health.

“The thousands of dedicated school sports professionals will be key to harnessing the inspiration of London's Games to get more young people playing sport."

The annual conference, sponsored by Sainsbury’s, brings together key personnel involved in the delivery of school sport including partnership development managers, competition managers, school sport co-ordinators and representatives from national governing bodies of sport and local education authorities.

It provides a wide range of development opportunities with keynote and mini keynote speakers, a variety of workshops and networking sessions as well as a leading exhibition of sports businesses.

Special awards which recognise innovation in school sport over the last year will be presented during the two-day conference to winning and highly commended school sport partnerships.

Conference host and national charity, the Youth Sport Trust, works with sports colleges and school sport partnerships to help deliver the national PE and Sport Strategy for Young People, including the target of offering all young people access to five hours of sport a week by 2012.


12.10.09

A new national schools cricket competition for U17 boys is being launched next year by School Sport Magazine.

The new competition, which will be open to all state and independent schools with sixth forms as well as sixth form colleges, will run throughout the 2010 summer term between April and July with the final in September.

Open to boys aged U17 on August 31 this year, the 40-over competition will run on a regional basis in the early rounds and will be open to schools in England, Wales and Scotland.

Phil Tusler, publishing editor of School Sport Magazine, said: “We have enjoyed supporting and celebrating school sport in all its forms over the last five years so this is a natural progression for us.

“The English Schools Cricket Association do a fantastic job running national competitions at U11, U13 and U15 level so an U17 competition will complement that superbly.

“It will be a great chance for teams who have played together for a number of years to stay together for a further season.

“And as it’s mainly for boys in the first year of sixth form between their GCSE and A-Level studies, it will hopefully encourage more players to develop their skills in a competitive environment and also stay involved with the game for longer.”

Schools who wish to pre-register for the competition should email info@schoolsportmag.co.uk


9.10.09

Three schools from Worcestershire have qualified for this season's finals day of the Army-sponsored West Midlands Schools Rugby Union Sevens.

Bishop Perowne won both the boys and girls tournament at the regional qualifying event held at Bromsgrove's Finstall Park ground and will now go through to the finals day which will be held at Stourton Park, the home of National One club Stourbridge, on October 22.

They will be joined by Nunnery Wood, whom Bishop Perowne beat 3-2 on tries in the boys final, and Chantry, who were beaten 8-6 by Bishop Perowne in the girls event.

Bishop Perowne ousted defending boys champions The Chase from Malvern 4-2 in the semi-finals.

The Worcestershire tournament featured 14 emerging rugby schools - Castle High, Chantry, Nunnery Wood, North Bromsgrove, The Chase, Hanley Castle, Bishop Perowne, Evesham, Christoper Whitehead, Droitwich Spa, Blessed Edwards, South Bromsgrove, Hagley and Kingsley - in the boys tournament. There were eleven teams - Chantry, Bishop Perowne, Blessed Edwards, Haybridge HS, Prince Henry's HS, Hanley Castle, South Bromsgrove, Evesham, North Bromsgrove, Hagley and Kingsley - in the girls tournament.

This is the eighth year of the West Midlands Schools Sevens competition, which will involve around 1,600 youngsters aged U16 in regional events to produce qualifiers for the finals day.

The next regional qualifying tournament will be the Warwickshire Sevens at Leamington RFC on October 13 with Staffordshire completing the regional events at Lichfield on October 15.

All the regional qualifying events feature full contact tournaments for boys and Tag rugby for girls. There will again be a full contact competition for girls at the finals day on October 22.


8.10.09

Sportspeople in the Woodford Green area of Essex will celebrate the opening of a new £200,000 artificial pitch at Woodbridge High School at 2.15pm on Monday November 23.

The new floodlit pitch will allow Woodbridge High School to provide mini-soccer, seven-a-side and five-a-side competition-standard facilities while the local community will benefit from evening and weekend hiring for women’s football, mini-soccer, small-sided competitions and youth development.

Students both at Woodbridge and at local primary schools will use the pitch for their curriculum lessons with after-school activities also taking place.

The Redbridge School Sports Partnership and Sports Development Team will use the pitch as a venue for festivals and tournaments.

The school were successful in applying for funding from the Football Foundation, who awarded a grant of £115,200 towards developing the new pitch.

In 2007 Woodbridge High School was also awarded two separate grants from the Football Foundation: £400 worth of kit and equipment through its Junior Kit Scheme and a Barclays Spaces for Sport coaching pack worth £700.

Jeremy Clifton, assistant headteacher at Woodbridge High School, said: “For many years we have wanted to provide first-class football facilities for our students and for our local community. It has only been possible to realise this ambition through the generous support and funding from the Football Foundation.

“The Foundation, along with Essex FA, have provided fantastic guidance from start to finish. We now have a facility that will provide many years of enjoyment, development and competition. My thanks to our many community partners who have supported this project from the beginning; this wouldn’t have happened without your commitment.”

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation said: “It is excellent news that pupils and the local community can now access these fantastic new facilities and commend Woodbridge High School and the Essex County FA for their hard work in making this happen.”


8.10.09

Rugby union in Sheffield schools has received a boost with the launch of two leagues based at Westfield School near Mosborough and Meadowhead School in the city.

A ten-school competition for year 10 (U15) pupils set the ball rolling, with the leagues split geographically between the two venues.

The day’s inaugural competition saw more than 100 pupils, including 35 who had never played the game competitively before, taking part in an 18-game programme in which the host schools finished unbeaten at the top of their respective sections.

Even more pupils were involved in a year 8 competition.

The leagues will continue for six weeks before taking a mid winter break.

January and February will see all the schools entering the national school series finals for year 7 to year 9 with the festival winners progressing to the South Yorkshire finals.

“We have a dozen schools in the city playing rugby union and to get 10 of them wanting to be involved in the two leagues is a real boost,” says South Yorkshire rugby union development officer Jonathan Rickerby.

“Apart from attracting youngsters who have never played before, we also have three new volunteer referees from Norton College who are getting valuable experience in handling matches.

“The fact that we have so many schools and youngsters involved in the competition for the six weeks and for them to have the opportunity to organise games amongst themselves after that is a very positive step.

“Obviously the children involved can also join one of the RU clubs in the area and hopefully they will enjoy the school competition enough to go down that route.

“The creation of the leagues is a real feather in the cap of community rugby coach Alan Treloar, who has done a terrific job in liaising with schools in the city and finding out what they need from the RFU in terms of support.

“The idea of setting up leagues came from the meetings Alan had with the teaching staff and obviously they have got behind their own suggestions by backing the project.”

Alan says: “It's great to see so many youngsters playing the game, especially those who are new to rugby.

“It's also been good to help setup the network amongst the teachers, some of whom have already started arranging ad-hoc inter-school games - the partnership between the RFU and schools is key and I really appreciate the help of all the teachers involved."


7.10.09

Three schools from Shropshire are the latest to qualify for this season's finals day of the Army-sponsored West Midlands Schools Rugby Union Sevens.

Church Stretton School won both the boys and girls tournament at the regional qualifying event held at Shrewsbury RFC and will now go through to the finals day which will be held at Stourton Park, the home of National One club Stourbridge, on October 22.

They will be joined in the finals day by Charlton School from Wellington, whom Church Stretton beat 4-1 on tries in the boys final, and Belvidere, who were runners-up in the girls event.

The Shropshire event featured 12 teams - Grove, Charlton, William Brookes, Phoenix, Meole Brace, Corbet, Abraham Darby A, Abraham Darby B, Idsall, Lacon Childe, Church Stretton and Belividere - in the boys tournament. Church Stretton and Belvidere were the only entrants in the girls competition.

This is the eighth year of the popular competition which will involve around 1,600 youngsters aged U16 in regional events to produce qualifiers for the finals day.

The next regional qualifying tournament will be the Worcestershire event at Bromsgrove's Finstall Park ground on October 8.

The Warwickshire Sevens will be held at Leamington RFC on October 13 with Staffordshire completing the regional events at Lichfield on October 15.

Last year The Chase School from Malvern won the tournament, beating Christopher Whitehead School from Worcester four tries to nil in the final at Stourbridge.

Charlton won the girl's Tag event by edging out Church Stretton with a golden try in extra time after the scores were level 4-4 at the end of normal time.

Nunnery Wood School from Worcester won the inaugural girl's contact tournament which was played on a round-robin basis.

All the regional qualifying events will feature full contact tournaments for boys and Tag rugby for girls. There will again be a full contact competition for girls at the finals day on October 22.


7.10.09

Four sixth form colleges in Ryedale, York, Teesside and Preston will be supplied by Rock-It-Ball equipment as a way of introducing the sport to new students.

The collegiate pilot project will supply Rock-Its, score counters, guidance and training as well as training two students from each college to level 2 coaching status.

Each area will be supported by an officer of the IRIBF while the colleges will be encouraged to play competitive fixtures against each other.

Launched three and a half years ago, Rock-It-Ball has helped drive sports participation in schools, youth organisations and community projects.


6.10.09

Three schools from Birmingham & the Black Country have become the first to qualify for this season's finals day of the Army-sponsored West Midlands Schools Rugby Union Sevens.

Summerhill won both the boys and girls tournament at the first of the regional qualifying events held at Old Halesonians RFC and will now go through to the finals day which will be held at Stourton Park, the home of National One club Stourbridge, on October 22.

They will be joined in the finals day by Coseley, whom Summerhill beat four tries to nil in the boys final, and Shenley Academy, from south Birmingham, who were runners-up in the girls event.

The Birmingham & Black Country event featured 15 emerging rugby schools - Aston Manor, High Arcal, Thorns Community College, King's Norton Boys School, Summerhill, Heartlands, George Dixon, International School A, International School B, Coseley, Wheelers Lane, St Edmund Campion, Windsor, Kingsbury and Haverstock - on the boys tournament. There were four teams - Summerhill, Shenley Academy, Coseley A and Coseley B - in the girls competition.

This is the eighth year of the popular competition which will involve around 1,600 youngsters aged U16 in regional events to produce qualifiers for the finals day.

The next regional qualifying tournament will be the Worcestershire event at Bromsgrove's Finstall Park ground on October 8.

The Warwickshire Sevens will be held at Leamington RFC on October 13 with Staffordshire completing the regional events at Lichfield on October 15.

Last year The Chase School from Malvern won the tournament, beating Christopher Whitehead School from Worcester four tries to nil in the final at Stourbridge.

Charlton School from Wellington won the girl's Tag event by edging out Shropshire rivals Church Stretton School with a golden try in extra time after the scores were level 4-4 at the end of normal time.

Nunnery Wood School from Worcester won the inaugural girl's contact tournament which was played on a round-robin basis.

All the regional qualifying events will feature full contact tournaments for boys and Tag rugby for girls. There will again be a full contact competition for girls at the finals day on October 22.


6.10.09

Edwina Sutton, director of sport at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, has travelled to Hawaii to compete in the Ironman World Championship.

Meanwhile Kate Nimmo, second in department and head of swimming, has flown to Australia to compete in the swimming events at the World Masters Games in Sydney.

Edwina qualified for the championships when she was the second woman to finish in her age group at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt, Germany in July.

The triathlon in Hawaii will include a four mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile marathon run through tough ocean waves and lava-covered terrain.

10,000 people try for a place at the ironman event and only 1,800 competitors are successful in winning a place.

Kate will join 28,000 competitors competing in 28 different sports at the largest international multi-sports event, bigger even than the Olympics.

Kate will start a series of five swimming races on October 10 with the 800m freestyle followed by the 400m and 200m freestyle and a 50m backstroke later in the week.

The final test will be the 400m individual medley which involves swimming 100m on each of the strokes starting with butterfly.

Vicky Tuck, school principal, said: “This is a remarkable achievement for Eddie and Kate and I am thrilled for them both.

“They have managed to combine successfully their rigorous training for their respective events with their responsibilities at college. They are an inspiration to us all and we wish them good luck.”


6.10.09

England rugby legend Martin Johnson opened the new hydrotherapy pool at Maplewood School.

Two hundred and fifty guests including pupils, parents, sponsors and staff attended the event at the Downley school which provides education and care for pupils aged 2 to 19 with special needs.

The pool enhances the provision of some of the many therapies offered to aid the development of children and young adults with severe and profound learning disabilities.

It will also be a benefit for the use in the local community for those learning to swim, such as mums with toddlers, and adults with disability can also benefit from therapy time, giving them an alternative opportunity for exercise and recreation.

School head John Rumble said: “It has been an extraordinary journey with an amazing outcome that will benefit Maplewood pupils and our wider community for years to come. Many thanks to all who have supported us and never lost faith in the project over so many years. We are very grateful.”

Martin Johnson said: “Everyone who has raised money for the hydrotherapy pool at Maplewood School deserves our congratulations. The pool will make a big difference to all the pupils who have profound and multiple disabilities and I hope it provides everyone with a lot of enjoyment and comfort."


1.10.09

Oundle School have qualified for next year’s Lord’s Taverners U15 National Trophy after their U14 side were crowned county champions.

Oundle, who narrowly beat Northampton School for Boys in the semi final, defeated Sir Christopher Hatton School, from Wellingborough, in a tight final.

Man of the match Sam Warner (36) and George Taylor (34) helped Oundle reach 171-9 before bowling Hatton out for 152.


1.10.09

Bedford Modern School have appointed Tristan Mayglothling as head of girls’ rowing.

Previously community rowing coach at the Star Club in Bedford for three years, Tristan said: “I was interested in the position as I believe that by employing a full time coach for girls’ rowing, the school is showing its commitment to developing equal opportunities amongst both girls’ and boys’ rowing at BMS.”


1.10.09

The eighth Army-sponsored West Midlands Schools Sevens will kick-off next week with the first of the regional qualifying tournaments.

The popular annual event will feature around 1,600 youngsters - boys and girls - aged U16 in regional events to produce qualifiers for the finals day at Stourton Park, the home of National One club Stourbridge, on October 22.

The first regional qualifying event will be for schools in Birmingham and the Black Country and will be staged at Old Halesonians' Wassell Grove ground on Monday October 5.

That will be followed by the Shropshire Sevens at Shrewsbury RFC on October 6 and the Worcestershire event at Bromsgrove's Finstall Park ground on October 8.

The Warwickshire Sevens will be held at Leamington RFC on October 13 with Staffordshire completing the regional events at Lichfield on October 15.

Last year The Chase School from Malvern won the tournament by beating Christopher Whitehead School from Worcester four tries to nil in the final at Stourbridge.

Charlton School from Wellington won the girl's Tag event by edging out Shropshire rivals Church Stretton School with a golden try in extra time after the scores were level 4-4 at the end of normal time.

Nunnery Wood School from Worcester won the inaugural girl's contact tournament which was played on a round-robin basis.

All the regional qualifying events will feature full contact tournaments for boys and Tag rugby for girls.

There will again be a full contact competition for girls at the finals day on October 22.


30.9.09

The top 12 rugby playing colleges in England today kick off their bid for the inaugural Advance Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) League title.

Oaklands (Herts), Prince Henry's (Otley), Hartpury, Myerscough (Preston), Moulton (Northampton), Worcester SFC, Filton, St Paul's (Sunbury-on-Thames), Truro, Ivybridge, Twyford C of E, and Exeter are competing in the new U18s competition.

The colleges are divided into north and south regions and will play each other home and away before play-offs are followed by a final in April to crown the winners.

The AASE programme is designed to offer young people the chance to pursue rugby excellence and education at the same time.

Each of the colleges is linked to one of the 14 England Rugby Academies - for example Twyford with London Wasps and Filton with Bristol Rugby - and the AASE League will provide them with a high level of regular competition to facilitate elite player development.

Terry Burwell, the RFU's tournament and competitions director, said: “I am delighted that we are launching the new U18s AASE League. The competition has been created to offer the ideal competition structure through which a number of England's potential elite young players can develop.

“The AASE programme offers the opportunity for some of these young players to combine continued education with a tailored individual-specific rugby development programme and the AASE League is the foundation on which the programme is built.

“This programme is a further indication of the RFU's commitment to ensuring our competitions meet the needs of our players, and complements the outstanding Daily Mail RBS Schools competition, which is now in its 21st year.”

Stuart Lancaster, the RFU's head of elite player development said: “The AASE programme gives this group of young players the education they need and the chance to excel at rugby and we know that they're operating at a good level already with sides like Truro and Exeter winning the Daily Mail Schools Cup in recent years.

“The programme has been running for more than two years now - with 12 of the original intake representing England at age group level and 34 offered professional contracts. We believe the AASE League will accelerate the development of their successors and breed more future international stars.”


29.9.09

The Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools’ Cup is hotting up after some of Scotland’s top seeded schools joined round three of the national competition.

The 16 schools seeded from 17 to 32 come up against the unseeded victors from the previous round and include the likes of 2006/07 winners Bell Baxter High School and the regularly competitive St Aloysius’.

Colin Thomson, head of community rugby at Scottish Rugby, said: “It’s always a very exciting time for any competition when the seeded teams join the action and schools across the country get the chance to pit themselves against some of the more established rugby playing schools.”

Round 4 will see the top 16 seeded schools join the competition.


28.9.09

Four key sporting roles have recently been filled at Felsted School in Essex.

Former England and county cricketer Jason Gallian has been appointed as head of
cricket while former London Wasps player Andrew Le Chevalier has joined as head of rugby,

A new role of director of sport has also been created to oversee the sporting provision for all boys and girls and to provide an individually tailored programme for sporting scholars.

Charlie Knightley, a former player with Gloucestershire CCC 2nd XI and London Scottish RFC, and a current housemaster at Felsted, filled this position from this term.

Brian Hays, an experienced former head of PE and an active tri-athlete, joins Felsted Preparatory School as head of sports and activities to nurture and develop talent in Felsted’s younger pupils.

Duncan Woods, a former England and GB hockey player, joined the school as head of hockey in 2007.

Charlie Knightley said: “These key roles have been developed to further improve the excellent coaching the boys and girls receive at Felsted.

“Pupils regularly compete and perform well in a strong school circuit and we have many individuals competing at county and some reaching international level.

“However, while there is a strong tradition of sporting excellence at Felsted, all abilities are catered for and every pupil is encouraged to participate and enjoy individual or team games, while developing a healthy attitude to fitness and exercise.

“The expansion of the coaching teams and employment of ex elite players will enhance the provision we can offer the pupils and backs up a dedicated teaching body who have been helping develop sport for many years.”

Felsted will also introduce sport scholarships for the first time from September 2010.


22.9.09

The countdown to Sport Relief 2010 has kicked off with the launch of free education resources for primary, secondary and early years groups.

The resources, spanning the English, physical education and citizenship curriculums, bring alive the stories of young people in the UK and overseas.

Sport Relief’s School Kits, which provide teachers with the tools they need to get set to ‘Rise to the Challenge’ and inspire their students to get active to help some of the world’s poorest people both in the UK and overseas, are available to order for free at www.sportrelief.com/schools.

Sport Relief ambassador Dame Kelly Holmes said: “Getting on board for Sport Relief 2010 is a fantastic first step as it brings your whole school together to have fun, do sport and do good.

“As well as getting everyone active and having a great time, there’s a really serious side, as the money you raise changes lives forever. My interest in sport started with a teacher who encouraged me. So you never know. You could even inspire a future Olympic champion.”

Sport Relief’s free to order resources range from lesson and assembly plans to photos, videos and real stories about children and young people supported by Sport Relief funded projects.

For primary and secondary schools, Sport Relief offers English, PE and citizenship lesson ideas and resources for key stages one to four.

These include lesson plans and activities that will get students thinking like journalists, with a dedicated area on www.sportrelief.com/schools for them to upload their reports on the issues affecting them in their communities, for all to see.

Primary and secondary school kits will also feature tools to engage the entire school with Sport Relief, from thought-provoking assembly plans, to activity ideas that will get every student active, whatever their sporting ability.

Sportacus, from BBC’s LazyTown, is back to excite and inspire early years groups with a host of learning ideas.

Early years kits will also include a full colour story book, helping children to understand the differences between their lives and those of other children around the world.

Get Your Socks on for Sport Relief with the Sport Relief Sock Deposit Scheme for schools is another new innovation this year.

An easy way for schools to fundraise, simply pay a deposit for an order of Sport Relief stripy socks from the website and sell the socks in your school.

For every pair of Sport Relief socks ordered through the Sock Deposit Scheme, Sainsbury’s is kindly giving one Active Kids voucher to the school. The Sport Relief sock will also be available to buy in UK Sainsbury’s stores for £2.

More resources will be available to download from the website from November. The new Training Ground area of SportRelief.com features creative teaching resources grouped into zones so they’re easy to access.

The Sport Relief fundraising campaign kicks off in January, when schools will be able to find a wealth of ideas to inspire kids of all ages to rise to the challenge and raise money for Sport Relief.

On March 19 next year, Sport Relief Friday across schools in the UK kicks off the Sport Relief weekend of fundraising fun.


16.9.09

Shrewsbury School were crowned ECB/ESCA 20/20 U15 champions after a superb nine-wicket victory against Whitgift at Headingley.

(for a full report check out the next edition of School Sport Magazine).


16.9.09

A school in Hertfordshire is getting a big sporting boost as it unveils a brand new sports complex.

And pupils at Meridian School, Royston, will get an additional thrill as one of England’s greatest ever goalkeepers pays a special visit to launch the site.

Former England international Peter Shilton, in his role as brand ambassador of IGOAL is officially launching the brand new 3rd generation artificial grass pitch (AGP) at 10.30am on Monday 21 September at the Meridian School, Garden Walk, Royston, SG8 7JH.

Shilton, who himself made his full senior debut for Leicester City FC at the schoolboy age of 16, was considered by Brian Clough to be the greatest English goalkeeper of all time and in 1990 helped England reach the semi finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1966.

Meridian School, along with the Hertfordshire County FA, applied to the Football Foundation for investment towards developing the new sports site and were successful in getting £316,750.

The Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity, with £40m provided each year by the Premier League, The FA and Government.

This funding boost enabled Royston Community to build a fantastic new facility at Meridian School.

The AGP will allow Meridian School, Royston Town and Royston Celtic football clubs and other users to offer improved and expanded pitch access.

The full-size pitch can be sub-divided into three ‘mini pitches’ for training or junior use and is served by the schools outstanding changing facilities and a community room.

To aid this, the grant has also provided the opportunity to employ a sports development officer, who is responsible for creating these links and providing coaching, training and tournaments on the new facility.

Dr Firth, head teacher of Meridian School said: “Without the all-important grant from the Football Foundation, this outstanding community and school facility would not have happened. On behalf of all those who will benefit from it, we are grateful to all community partners who helped make it happen.”

Jenny Probert, the new sports development officer at Meridian School said: “The new facility at Meridian School is going to be a great asset to Royston and I’m sure the whole community will benefit from it being here. It is great to be working on such an exciting project and I look forward to getting things started!”


11.9.09

An outing at Twickenham will be the ultimate prize for thousands of aspiring young players who be setting out again on another exciting Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby Union Cup adventure this month.

Since the U15 Cup was launched in 1988, the Daily Mail knockout competition, now additionally backed by Six Nations Championship sponsors RBS, has provided not only the first real competitive experience for youngsters from all corners of the Rugby Football Union domain, but also a platform for many players who have gone on to become household names on the international stage.

With the four finals of U18 and U15 Cup and Vase competitions taking place at Twickenham in March, the event is a focus of interest at all the schools taking part and not simply the elite end of the scale where the game has been played and highest standards attained for generations.

One of the great strengths of the competition is the way it is structured, with the two Vase events providing a genuine opportunity for schools at the fledgling end of their rugby development to reach the later stages by competing against teams with the same degree of experience.

For many players, the Daily Mail RBS Cup will be the first time they have had a chance to compete on a national stage and certainly the first time that the chance of an outing at one of the most famous stadiums in World sport has been the prize.

Since Royal Grammar School, Guildford beat Wellington College, Crowthorne 12-0 in the final of the U15 Cup which carried the Daily Mail title for the first time in 1988, the competition has grown steadily and once again this year over 1,000 teams will go to post in the U15 and U18 Cup sections.

The numbers are slightly trimmed by the creation of the RFU U18 Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence Colleges League that will run for the first time this season, with last year's U18 Cup winners Truro College involved in that event and thereby prevented from defending their title.

While the AASE Colleges Cup removes a sprinkling of well-established names, however, the integrity of the Daily Mail RBS event is untouched, with the prospect of a place in a final at Twickenham on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 the bait for some of the finest schoolboy players in the country.

Last year's U15 Cup winners Millfield will be defending the title they won last season by beating the Judd School, from Kent, 34-11, while U18 Vase winners John Cleveland College from the Midlands will be hoping to get back to Twickenham, where the defeated Hampton School 23-15 earlier this year.

The Leys School had the distinction of winning the U15 Vase on their debut in the competition and, having enjoyed a 25-3 Twickenham win over Kings School, Macclesfield, they will be doubly keen to repeat the process.

Broad Street RUFC, Coventry will again be hosting the semi-finals, with the U18 Cup and Vase being on the weekend of February 27/28 respectively and the U15 Cup and Vase coming a week later on March 6/7 respectively.

Because of the variation in numbers between the four divisions, a first round has only been necessary in the London & SE and South West sections of the U15 Cup, which are scheduled to be played by Wednesday, September 16, 2009. The rest get under way on Wednesday, September 30.


10.9.09

The finale of one of the largest ever school and community golf projects in the UK is to take place at Loughborough University next Wednesday (16th September) with the first National Golf Roots Festival.

Leading golf charity the Golf Foundation has captured the imagination of children, parents, teachers, volunteers, golf club members and PGA professionals this year through the Golf Roots 2009 project - bringing golf to hard-to-reach youngsters from many different backgrounds.

Golf Roots has been taking place in 16 urban areas of England and Wales, enabling thousands of boys and girls to enjoy golf in school and community venues before being offered the opportunity to progress with their new sport at golf clubs and driving ranges.

Many youngsters have struck their very first golf shots by playing Tri-Golf, a miniature, safe starting game for younger children, and Golf Xtreme, a funky modified golf game for 11-16 year olds.

Golf Roots is helping the Golf Foundation to reach more than 700,000 youngsters a year through golf, working to grow and protect the sport in support of the national golf partnerships of England, Scotland and Wales.

As a celebration of this activity, the National Golf Roots Festival will welcome teams of golfers from all 16 cities to Loughborough University.

Every team of ten boys and girls is already a winning team, having triumphed in an organised Tri-Golf competition in their area.

Their reward is a place in the final of Tri-Golf Skills Challenges in a packed Loughborough sports centre.

Leading representatives from golf's national governing bodies and the organisations which help to fund the sport will join with teachers, young volunteers and all those who have helped make Golf Roots a success to see these children put on a show of their newly learned golf skills.

It will be high-energy, noisy and fun and will demonstrate the unique focus the Golf Foundation has brought to making golf such a successful sport in schools in the last seven years - starting virtually from scratch.

Brendon Pyle, National Development Manager for the Golf Foundation, said: "Since we launched Tri-Golf as a game to help youngsters take first steps in golf, it has been a major hit and transformed golf delivery in schools.

“Currently golf is the second-fastest growing sport in schools behind cycling, according to government figures, and that is because it's fun, easy to play anywhere and easy for teachers to deliver in the curriculum.

“As Golf Roots has been a big success in the last few years in appealing to hard-to-reach youngsters in predominately urban areas, we took the ambitious step this year of inviting teams from all 16 areas to compete in a Tri-Golf final on the 16th September.

“This day should be hugely exciting for all the children involved and will showcase everything the Golf Foundation is about in making golf more accessible to youngsters everywhere.

“As a direct result of Golf Roots, more youngsters will move from schools into clubs and driving ranges, and more juniors from a greater range of backgrounds will enjoy the game.”

A key focus of Golf Roots has been to promote attributes of golf like honesty, respect, co-operation and self-motivation - 'skills for life' - which can help in the development of young people.

On the day of the National Golf Roots Festival, apart from the prizes for the teams who achieve the best scores in the Tri-Golf Skills Challenges, there will be a special 'Skills for Life Award' for the team that conducts itself in the most sporting manner.

Another important feature of the day will be the work of young volunteers. Working closely with England Golf, the Golf Foundation made it a top priority in every Golf Roots region for local organisers to encourage young volunteers to mentor children as they start in golf.

Both bodies have identified the importance of encouraging more volunteers into golf to help the junior game at club level and create bridges from school to clubs, and at Loughborough University two volunteers will travel from each of the 16 regions to take charge of proceedings.

Golf Roots is designed to create sustainable golf projects, so that the youngsters can keep playing and, in future years, new youngsters can be introduced to the game. Golf Roots events can be held anywhere in the community because of the flexibility of Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme, from the sports field to the shopping mall.

The 16 Golf Roots areas for 2009 are South London, Portsmouth, Carlisle, Preston, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield, East London, Westminster, Derby, Leicester, Birmingham, Dudley, Bournemouth and Poole, Truro, Cardiff and Wrexham.

To learn more about Golf Roots and the Golf Foundation call 01992 449830 or visit www.golf-foundation.org


8.9.09

Two Truro High School girls have achieved national recognition for their outstanding sporting abilities during the summer holidays.

Lottie Richardson has been selected for the 15 to 19 year old England Netball National Excel Programme and Jordanna Morrish has been crowned England’s top high jumper for her age.

Jordanna’s success came at the English Athletics Championships in Bedford when she became the national U15 high jump champion.

She cleared an impressive 1.65m to secure the title and, as she is still only 13, she’ll have the opportunity to defend that title at the competition next year.

It was Jordanna’s second national competition of the summer, having finished sixth in the English Schools Championships.

She said: “It was amazing. I was not really expecting to win but it is definitely my best win ever.”

Lottie will be the only member of the England Netball National Excel squad selected from Cornwall.

Her success means she will join a squad of 25 young women from throughout the country aged between 15 and 19 - a considerable achievement as Lottie is still only 14.

The National Excel Programme runs from May to March and involves nationally managed and controlled training camps and weekends as well as two hours technical training per week delivered by the local Excel Academy.

The programme is focused on the progress of the individual rather than the squad with a view to developing the potential of England’s international champions of the future.

In January, the U17 and U19 England Squads will be announced and if Lottie is selected she will compete in the Netball Europe Championships in March.

Lottie and Jordanna are now representing Cornwall and the South West, in the national multi-events final on September 20/21..

Truro High School headmistress Caroline Pascoe said: “The continued sporting achievements of both Jordanna and Lottie are a constant source of pride to everyone at Truro High School.

“With just over 400 students we are a small community but we believe in concentrating time and resources on each individual. We want our pupils and our sixth form students to have the best education available in an environment that wholly supports their own particular needs.”

Mrs Pascoe also praised the efforts of the school’s sports teachers, who also helped achieve 100% grade A passes in sport at A level and the best AS level sport results in the country.

(For a three-page special on the summer’s schools athletics championships, check out the new edition of School Sport Magazine)


2.9.09

There was a new winner of the Cronk-Cunis National U21 old boys rugby festival Cup when St Benedict's, Ealing, defeated Millfield 27-0 in the final.

The Cup final brought the curtain down on a magnificent day of rugby at KCS Old Boys & Old Blues ground in Motspur Park, Surrey, which saw 46 teams of schools old boys' U21 teams from all around England compete on eight pitches.

More than 850 players took part in the festival's five competitions and, with almost 40 hours of rugby being played in 75 matches, it is now the biggest 15-a-side rugby festival of adult rugby in the country.

St Benedict's had looked likely winners from early in the day but were pushed extremely hard in their semi final against Dulwich, eventually winning 26-21 after extra time.

Millfield reached the final after defeating Cranleigh in their semi-final.

Portsmouth Grammar School defeated Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School 10-7 in the Plate final while John Fisher beat Pangbourne College 17-7 in the Bowl final

In the Vase final, King's Taunton overcame Reigate Grammar School 13-10 while Kings College School, Wimbledon defeated St John's, Leatherhead 5-0 in the Shield final.

The Cup was presented to St Benedict's captain Matt Davis by RFU President John Owen who continued the record of recent RFU presidents in attending this prestigious national event.

John praised the organisation of the festival, now in its 13th year, and the important place it holds in the annual rugby calendar and added: “It is wonderful to see so many young rugby players enjoying the game, renewing old friendships and making new ones. The organisers of the festival are to be congratulated on another hugely successful event.”

The RFU's London South regional delivery team supported the event, which gave a valuable and timely boost to the Play On campaign aimed at keeping players involved with rugby when they leave school for work or university.

London South regional development manager Peter Macaulay and RDOs Jo Martin and Martin Mactaggart were present together with several of the team's community rugby coaches.


2.9.09

Castleford High School won three titles – in the boys U15 final and the girls U14 and U15 finals - at the Carnegie Champion Schools Rugby League Championships.

Other winners included Outwood Grange College, Wakefield (boys U12), Brooksbank School & Sports College (boys U13), Freeston College, Wakefield (boys U14), Hollingworth High School, Rochdale (girls U12) and Settle Middle School (girls U13).

(For full reports and pictures, check out the September/October edition of School Sport Magazine)


1.9.09

Scottish Rugby highlighted the importance of building solid links between school and club rugby at the launch of the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup in North Berwick.

Held on the town’s esplanade to recognise the efforts of last season’s highest placed state school, head of community rugby Colin Thomson pointed to North Berwick High School’s approach to rugby and joined-up thinking as an example of best practice.

“Teamwork in all corners of the country between rugby clubs and schools supported by Scottish Rugby and local authorities is the key to maximising the opportunities to play rugby,” said Thomson.

“Through the national club development officer network we continue to work, in partnership, to develop and strengthen these links as they are fundamental to providing avenues for hundreds of young people to experience this great game.”

Head of PE – and the man in charge of rugby at North Berwick High School – Ronnie Jeffries, paid tribute to his local club for their part in his school’s success.

“Our system at the school is basically an extension of the education ethos. We try to involve as many of the teachers in the team as possible, using rugby as a means to enrich the boys’ development and use the philosophy of coaching and encouragement in and out of the classroom,” said Jeffries.

“Working together is the key to our success. We benefit from a great minis section at the local rugby club and the help of parent’s who have completed Scottish Rugby coaching courses.

“We also have a great relationship with Telford College in Edinburgh which allows us to offer the boys a strength and conditioning programme.”

Last season, Fettes College edged out Stewart’s Melville College in a dramatic nine-try U18 final (39-28) to lift the silverware for the first time in the school’s history in front of a raucous 5152 crowd.

Duncan Harrison, head of rugby at Fettes, said: “Winning the competition last year was massive. There was a real buzz around the school before, during and after the final. It was unbelievable and it really galvanized the school.

“There’s a lot of excitement among the players already as we’re in pre-season just now but the minute the Cup draw goes up on the notice board interest and anticipation will jump up across the school.”

Glasgow Warriors full-back Peter Horne was part of the last Schools’ Cup winning state school when he lifted the trophy with Bell Baxter in 2007.

Like North Berwick, the working relationship between his former school, Bell Baxter, and club, Howe of Fife, is becoming increasingly regarded in Scottish rugby as a winning formula.

“As a player, it really helps if your club and school have a close working relationship as it means that you’re playing regular rugby with your best friends which is great for the team morale,” said Horne.

“The focus to perform in the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup and the combined support of both my club and school encouraged me to work harder on my game and think seriously about making rugby my career.

“If the young players involved in this season’s competition apply themselves, regardless of what school they go to, then they could make strides towards age-grade and professional rugby or, within a couple years, play for the Scotland team like John Barclay did just three years after lifting the trophy.”

Over 230 teams will compete in this year’s competition with 18 new schools taking part for the first time.

Marc Wilkinson, senior divisional director at Brewin Dolphin, added: “We are encouraged to see yet more schools have signed up to take part in the tournament for the first time.

“The feedback we receive from teachers, parents and participants is always hugely positive and we’re also delighted that so many schools sign up year after year. It’s a great opportunity for teams to play against schools they might not otherwise face.

“This is our ninth year as title sponsors, previously as Bell Lawrie, and each year there is a great deal of excitement in all our offices as the tournament kicks off. And when it comes to finals night, seeing the lively crowd in the national stadium, is very special.”

Following the 2009 Scottish Rugby Union AGM, where clubs voted for the introduction of an integrated schools and club competition, rugby in Scotland is set to be the subject of much discussion over the coming months.

Thomson added: “Notwithstanding contractual obligations to Brewin Dolphin in relation to the Schools’ Cup, the national club season structure framework has been agreed by rugby clubs and the school fixtures, including Cup entries, have been set for 09/10.

“There are in excess of 600 clubs and schools with whom a consultation process is already underway. This will continue up to the Christmas period with the view to implement an agreed structure in 2010/2011.”

The final of both the U15 and U18 Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools’ Cup will be held on the international pitch at Murrayfield on Wednesday 20 January 2010.


28.8.09

The English Schools Combined Events Championships, the competition that kick-started the career of world heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, will take place at Bedford International Athletic Stadium on September 19 and 20.

Teams and individuals from most of the country’s county schools associations will be competing.

Saturday September 19 will see the Junior Boys Pentathlon, the Inter Boys Octathlon, the Senior and Inter Girls Heptathlon and the first day of the Senior Boys Decathlon.

Sunday September 20 will feature the Junior Girls Pentathlon, the Inter Boys Octathlon, the Senior and Inter Girls Heptathlon and the second day of the Senior Boys Decathlon.

The ESAA Race Walking championships will take place on Saturday September 19, also at Bedford Stadium.


27.8.09

Hartpury College in Gloucestershire has joined a select band of further education establishments in England after being named a Beacon College for rugby by the Rugby Football Union.

Hartpury is the third college in the south west to achieve Beacon status which, together with the second-tier Accredited College award, sets standards of providing rugby to students and working alongside RFU staff and other partners.

Peter Bath, the RFU's national student development manager, said: “I am delighted that Hartpury College has achieved the Beacon College Award.

“We have developed the award in partnership with British Colleges Sport to encourage colleges to raise standards and to celebrate the great work that is taking place in further education across the country.

“The award recognises that the college is offering a great environment for rugby players to develop while combining it with a full range of educational opportunities.”

The RFU works alongside the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW), British Colleges Sport (BCS) and Constituent Body Rugby Development Partnerships to support and develop the game of rugby in colleges of further education.

The RFU, RFUW and BCS can offer through this programme a range of development tools, resources, courses and support to suit the needs of the individual college in return for the college developing the game from within.

Peter Bath added: “We are aiming to reach a total of around 30 Accredited Colleges and a dozen Beacon Colleges in the next 18 months.

“It helps raise standards of rugby provision and also gives students aged 16-plus a guide of where to carry on with their rugby. And we would like colleges to start leading the process.”

Beacon Award colleges now include Moulton College, Yeovil College, Gateshead College, Truro College, Worthing College and Hartpury College.

Accredited Award colleges include Basingstoke College of Technology (BCOT), Brockenhurst College, Richard Huish College. Weston College, Strode College, Queen Mary's College, 6th Form Colchester College, Henley College, Coventry, Eccles College, Hartlepool College, South Nottingham College, Peterborough Regional College and SEEVIC.

 


12.8.09

England cricketer Allan Lamb and Chris Broad joined forty youngsters for a game of Urban Cricket in Abbeyfield Park, Sheffield.

Allan and Chris visited the npower Urban Cricket facility in Abbeyfield Park, which was officially opened in April 2008 as part of the grassroots cricket initiative Urban Cricket, to pass on tips and advice to a group of local primary school children who use the facility to practise playing cricket.

The facility, which transformed a disused area of the park, was the second of five purpose-built cricket facilities to be opened across the country as part of the Urban Cricket initiative.

Since its opening, Parks and Countryside Services and Activity Sheffield, both part of Sheffield City Council, working in partnership with Yorkshire Cricket Board, regularly use the facility to run cricket coaching programmes for local primary schools to encourage children to lead more active lifestyles.

The facility is also open to the local community to use at anytime.

Allan Lamb said: “It’s great to be in Sheffield to see how npower Urban Cricket is working. Judging by some of the children I’ve seen here today the scheme is really making a difference to the local community.

“Hopefully, some of these children will keep playing cricket in the local leagues and maybe one day play for Yorkshire.”

Chris Broad added: “It is fantastic to see initiatives such as npower Urban Cricket giving youngsters the chance to learn the game.”

Gareth Davis, cricket development manager from Yorkshire Cricket Board said: “The npower Urban Cricket facility has really benefited the area since it was opened last year.

“We use the facility regularly to try and introduce local children to cricket and encourage them to get out there and play.

“Facilities like these are a great way of developing a legacy for the game and allowing children in the area to practice their skills in a safe environment.”

Cllr Sylvia Dunkley, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Sheffield City Council added: “I’m delighted to see so many children here, playing cricket with two fantastic England cricketers.

“This is a day that none of these children will forget. And what great teachers! This is a fantastic way to encourage children to play cricket, and get into sport.”

npower Urban Cricket, a grassroots project run in conjunction with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), was launched in 2006 with the goal of getting more children playing cricket.

Since its launch, npower and the ECB have distributed over 60,000 Urban Cricket kits to children in the UK. The scheme plans to distribute a further 10,000 kits this summer.

The scheme has also been responsible for the development of five purpose built cricket facilities across the UK at sites in Birmingham, Sheffield, London, Nottingham and Manchester.

For more information on Urban Cricket visit www.npower.com/cricket


11.8.09

Schools across Wales have been awarded a gold star for their high standards in PE.

The Sports Council for Wales and the Association for Physical Education (afPE) is recognising those schools who are putting PE to the top of the agenda.

All schools can apply for ActiveMarc Cymru and this year 42 schools from across Wales have passed with flying colours.

ActiveMarc Cymru recognises schools that are committed to developing high quality physical education and school sport and to promoting the benefits of physical activity.

Philip Carling, chair of the Sports Council for Wales, said:“School sport should not be underestimated. It plays a pivotal role in achieving a healthier Wales.

“The Sports Council for Wales is eager to celebrate success and good practice in school sport. We hope that this award provides a benchmark of excellence to which all schools can aspire.”

Professor Margaret Talbot, from the Association for Physical Education, said: “There is strong evidence that children who receive high quality physical education within curriculum time, build a firm basis for future participation and achievement and also do better in the rest of their schooling.

“It is good to see that schools which make adequate provision for physical education also report higher achievement across the school, in other subjects, but also in behaviour, attendance and retention.

“The ActiveMarc award recognises this vital contribution to school life and children’s education. Physical education in schools is a great investment.”

Jane Hutt, Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, has thrown her support behind the accreditation scheme which provides a seal of approval to those schools which are making a firm commitment to PE.

“The success of ActiveMarc Cymru is extremely good news for the future health of our young people,” she said.

“The Welsh Assembly Government is striving to promote and encourage healthy lifestyles among people of all ages. ActiveMarc Cymru supports us by highlighting the high quality provision of PE and sports on offer in schools.”

Schools who want to apply can visit www.npower.com/cricket


10.8.09

Scottish Rugby has issued a last call for entries to this season’s flagship schools’ rugby tournament – the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools’ Cup.

With this year’s championships set to include a girls’ competition, Scottish Rugby’s head of community rugby Colin Thomson is confident the tournament will continue to be the focus for development for many schools throughout the country.

One week before the schools return from their summer break, Colin said: “Schools rugby introduces thousands of children to rugby in a fun and enjoyable way and is often the hook that sees many continue their participation from school into clubs and onwards into adult life.

“Following the unanimous vote at the 2009 Scottish Rugby Union AGM, Scottish rugby is now a fully integrated game and the inclusion of competitions for schoolgirls within the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup sponsorship is a great example of rugby being developed and supported in an integrated fashion.”

The new three-year deal with the investment manager Brewin Dolphin – formally Bell Lawrie – has seen the partnership with Scottish Rugby extended until 2012.

Marc Wilkinson, senior divisional director at Brewin Dolphin, said: “We hope to welcome several new schools to the tournament, as more teams take the opportunity to compete in this national cup competition.

“Each year hundreds of schools teams enjoy the experience of competing, playing schools they otherwise wouldn’t, with the ultimate goal of running out at Murrayfield and lifting silverware.

“In addition, each school which enters will receive a set of rugby balls and other kit which we hope enhances their experience.”

In 2004, the U15 boys’ competition was added to run alongside the existing U18 tournament and now more than 240 Scottish school teams take part every year.

Last season Fettes College edged out Stewart’s Melville College in a dramatic nine-try U18 final (39-28) after Edinburgh Academy saw off city rivals George Watson’s College (29-21) in the U15 final both on the international pitch at Murrayfield in front of a vociferous 5152 crowd.


3.8.09

Hedingham School in Essex have launched a £450k project to build a state-of-the-art 3rd generation artificial grass pitch on the site of the school’s current all weather pitch – thanks to a £214,726 grant from the Football Foundation.

The scheme will provide a floodlit artificial grass pitch, which can be used as two or three smaller pitches or for a training space.

In addition, improvement works to the school’s field will make it available for community use giving access to three further pitches, including a full size pitch.

The new enhanced site will be a real community sports hub, increasing opportunities for local people to play sport, as well as greatly improving the sports provision enjoyed by pupils at the school and its feeder primary schools during curriculum time.

The scheme is being funded from a variety of sources including the Football Foundation, Essex County Council Legacy Fund, Sible Hedingham Parish Council, Hedingham School PTA and the school’s own building funds.

The Football Foundation is dedicated to revitalising the grass roots of the game, constructing modern football facilities, developing football as a force for social cohesion and as a vehicle for education in communities throughout the country.

Funded by the Premier League, The Football Association and the Government, the Football Foundation is the nation’s largest sports charity with a £40m budget going straight into the heart of football.

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation said: “We warmly congratulate Hedingham School and the Essex County FA for their hard work and dedication in securing this award.

“Sport is playing a central role in helping people to stay fit, strengthen communities and promote responsibility amongst young people.

“This new project in rural Sible Hedingham is but one example of thousands across the country that the Football Foundation is supporting with money provided by our funding partners – the Premier League, The FA and Government.”

Helena Carter, school bursar at Hedingham School said: “We are delighted that this exciting project is coming to fruition. Work has already started and we anticipate the facilities will be available for use during the Autumn term.

“We have already had enquires from people wishing to book the facility. If anyone would like to make a provisional booking please contact Carol Clark at the school on 01787 460470 or cclark@hedingham.essex.sch.uk.”


28.7.09

Aston Comprehensive School from Rotherham won both the U16 girls and U14 mixed national schools rounders championships while Portsmouth Grammar School took the U11 mixed title for a full report don’t miss the next edition of School Sport Magazine)


23.7.09

Bengeo Primary School, from Hertford, have beaten off 12,000 other teams to be crowned ASDA Kwik Cricket National U11 champions (for a full report don’t miss the next edition of School Sport Magazine)


22.7.09

William Parker Sports College from Sussex successfully defended the English Schools Team Golf Championships at Thetford (for a full report don’t miss the next edition of School Sport Magazine)


21.7.09

Sheringham High School pupil Amber Ratcliffe belied her tender years to win the English Schools U16 National Championships at Northants County Golf Club (for a full report don’t miss the next edition of School Sport Magazine)


20.7.09

Reed’s School and Cheam High smashed their way to the AEGON National U18 Team Tennis titles for a third successive year (for a full report don’t miss the next edition of School Sport Magazine)


17.7.09

Morecambe Road School from Morecambe in Lancashire became the first national champions for schools catering for pupils with moderate learning disabilities when they emerged as winners of an eight team final competition at Rugby School.

The finals were contested on the world-famous Close at Rugby School in Warwickshire, the same patch of ground where William Webb Ellis is credited with 'inventing' the game of rugby by first picking up the ball and running with it.

There was no shortage of running with the ball in a compelling final, with Morecambe Road getting home by 12 tries to 11 against White Spire School from Milton Keynes,

Durham Trinity School were presented the 'Spirit of Rugby Award' for their performance in the areas of respect, teamwork, friendship and fair play.

A separate tag rugby event for deaf and hearing impaired pupils also took place on The Close in conjunction with the tournament for players with moderate learning difficulties, with some players making their rugby debut at the home of the game.

Nic Scott, the RFU Equity & Inclusion Manager said: “We've all had a fantastic day of rugby, despite the passing storms.

“The skill level of the players is great to see and the spirit that the games have been played in is a credit to the teachers and helpers.

“We look forward to holding an even bigger event next season. In particular I would like to thank the event partners, Child Victims of Crime and YAZOO.”


16.7.09

Olympic hurdler and BBC Strictly Come Dancing star Colin Jackson was among the guest speakers at the 2009 Dance Conference at Walsall Football Club, organised by the Youth Sport Trust.

Speaking to more than 200 PE teachers and practitioners from across the country, Colin discussed the impact that Strictly Come Dancing has had on him, the parallels between top athletes and dancers and helped to illustrate the benefits dance can have on young people.

With the latest School Sport Survey showing that dance is the second most popular activity offered by schools, the conference focused on the skills and techniques needed by teachers to motivate and inspire dance education.

Delegates were treated to performances by school youth dance groups including Free Fall, and dance companies such as StopGAP, as well as talks by Lee Fisher, Head of Creative Learning and former principle dancer at the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Olympic swimmer Steve Parry before engaging in a range of practical and theoretical workshops.

Olympic silver medallist and world champion hurdler Colin said: “You only need to look at the success of programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing and the rise in number of dance acts in Britain’s Got Talent to see just how popular dance is.

“Celebrity endorsement and participation is playing a big part in changing perceptions and helping young people, from all walks of life, find styles they can engage with.”

He continued: “Most forms of dance are as physically active as traditional sports and I quickly learnt that to be the best it takes just as much training and dedication as it does to compete at the highest levels in athletics or any other sport.

“It’s fantastic to see schools doing all they can to support pupils and ensure they have a breadth of opportunities.”

Central to discussions was the work delegates are doing in delivering the national PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP) and the aim to offer all young people access to five hours of sport a week – of which dance plays an important role.

Baroness Sue Campbell, chair of the Youth Sport Trust, explained: “In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the variety of sporting activity available to young people.

“Dance is one such activity and schools are recognising its power to engage a broad spectrum of young people, including those who may not be as interested in the more traditional sports.

“Today has been about giving teachers the opportunity to discover new ways to engage even more pupils as we work towards offering all young people five hours of sport a week by 2012.”


15.7.09

Four Olympic athletes led two hundred young people from schools and community groups all over Britain at the first Sports Leaders UK national convention at MK Dons stadium.

‘Leaders for Life 2009’ took 200 sports leaders through a range of practical activities to develop leadership skills and show paths to further education, employment and volunteering.

Also on offer were work and volunteering opportunities and five scholarships to summer camp jobs in the USA.

Sports Leaders UK is building on the school-based success of its awards and qualifications to develop a stronger community presence.

In many instances this involves schools taking a wider role in the community, offering more open-access courses.

Trained sports leaders provide a valuable resource to organise sport and physical activity events and forge stronger bonds between schools and their communities.

Nearly 80 per cent of the 200,000 young people who gain sports leaders awards and qualifications each year take them through the mainstream education sector.

The awards have become an important contributor to further education, employment and volunteering opportunities.

In addition to schools, Sports Leaders UK delivers sports leadership awards and qualifications colleges, youth clubs, prisons and community groups.

By the end of 2009 it aims to have 100 outreach centres – some based in schools – to serve areas of greatest deprivation.

The Leaders for Life convention was part of a development programme that boosts Sports Leaders UK involvement in community delivery of sport and physical activity.

Olympians leading the day’s activities were Katherine Merry (400 metres), Steve Parry (swimming), Sarah Pavely (fencing), and Brendan Reilly (high jump).

Katherine said: “There’s no difference in the skills and disciplines needed to be an Olympic athlete than to be best at college, best in education, best in the workplace.

Hard work, dedication, teamwork, communication: that’s what sports people do on a daily basis. That’s why the Sports Leaders UK convention here today is so important because there is no line between sport and those skills for life.”

Sports Leaders UK chief executive, Linda Plowright said: “The day was a great learning experience and a lot of fun for the all participants. For some it will offer real opportunities to further careers or widen volunteering horizons

“As well as creating activities for young people, we hope the convention provided an opportunity to listen to what they have to say about sport, education and employment.”


9.7.09

Oakham School and Millfield will share the 2009 Lord’s Taverners U15 Schools Trophy after rain washed out the final at Kibworth CC in Leicestershire.

After several showers and Millfield 34-1 off twelve overs, the match was called off with both teams being crowned joint winners.


7.7.09

Southend High School for Girls won both the girls’ junior U14 and intermediate U16 titles at the English Schools Track & Field Athletics Cup at Barnet.

Southend High School for Boys won the boy’s intermediate U16 title while Robert Bloomfield Middle School, from Bedfordshire, were crowned junior boys’ U14 champions.

(For a full report and pictures don’t miss the next edition of School Sport Magazine)


7.7.09

More than 300 primary school pupils in Blackheath were invited to a tennis festival hosted by Blackheath High School.

Budding tennis players from years 2, 3 and 4 of Invicta, James Wolfe, All Saints and John Ball Schools were given the chance to develop their tennis skills from coaches from Blackheath High.


7.7.09

Seven northern primary schools are among the 20 teams taking part in the National Tag Rugby finals at Rugby School tomorrow, when the two finalists will earn the bonus of playing in a curtain-raiser at Twickenham in November.

Bidding for the national title and a Twickenham outing will be John Emmerson Batty Primary School (Cleveland), St Aloysius RC Junior School (Tyne & Wear), Tarleton Holy Trinity CE Primary School (Lancashire), Quinta Primary School (Cheshire), Cudworth Churchfield Primary School (South Yorkshire), Thorne Green Top Primary School (South Yorkshire) and The Buchan School (Isle of Man).

The event takes place on The Close at Rugby School, where William Webb Ellis is credited with being the first man to pick up and run with a football giving birth to the sport that carries the name of the Warwickshire town.

In addition to treading that very famous piece of turf, the finalists will also get the chance to run out on the most famous pitch in world rugby, Twickenham, when they take part in the build-up to the Investec Challenge game between England and New Zealand on November 21.

Wednesday's event is the culmination of a Rugby Football Union community Tag Rugby programme across England that has been run once again in conjunction with the Child Victims of Crime charity and YAZOO to encourage the nation's children to participate in sport and pursue a safer and healthier lifestyle.

Teams have qualified for the national finals day through a series of local and regional qualifying events for a competition that has involved around 30,000 children - boys and girls.

The CVOC's Tackle Safety programme also helps to bring local communities together by enabling police forces to get involved with local schools and work with them to improve community relations.

Tag Rugby is a non-contact version of the sport that can be played by all ages and which has proved a popular way of introducing participants to rugby.


6.7.09

Schoolchildren from Barking and Dagenham have been crowned national Panathlon Challenge champions in one of the most exciting finals in years.

Barking and Dagenham finished just four points ahead of second-placed Newham and six points in front of Bromley in third.

One hundred and fifty disabled athletes aged between eight and 18 took part in the final at Westway Sports Centre, London, representing each of the six participating capital city boroughs.

Giles Long, multi-medalist from the Paralympic Games, was on hand to encourage the athletes and award medals to all the winners.

Six teams competed in five sports during the one-day competition, having won through from preliminary rounds earlier in the year. Brent finished fourth, Wandsworth fifth and Waltham Forest sixth.

Event organiser Ashley Iceton said: “We always get top class performances from our young athletes at the London finals but today has been the closest-ever finish.

“All credit to the teams and the coaching staff for giving us such a memorable day. We are used to going down to the last race but today has been exceptional. Congratulations to everyone taking part and winning medals today.”

This year’s event was funded by the Football Foundation, the Jack Petchey Foundation and the Peter Harrison Foundation, who all support the Panathlon charity.


6.7.09

Four schools from Devon, Cornwall and Berkshire are just one step away from playing on the hallowed turf of Twickenham Stadium.

By qualifying for the Tag to Twickenham national finals, to be held on July 8 at Rugby School, they are in with a shot of playing at England Rugby HQ with the winner and runner-up playing a curtain raiser game to England's autumn international against New Zealand on November 21st.

Burraton CP School from Cornwall and Widey Court Primary School from Devon won the South West Regional Final last month, while Berkshire schools Churchend Primary and Hermitage Primary won the South Regional Final.

The four schools will now meet 16 other regional finalist schools at Rugby School.

The Tag to Twickenham tournament was developed from the Child Victims of Crime Tag Rugby project in 2007.

The Rugby Football Union and YAZOO joined forces to work alongside the only national police children's charity to promote children's safety, health, welfare and to encourage their social inclusion and community involvement.

The programme now involves more than 400 schools and 30,000 young people, and has grown over a relatively short period of time to become the biggest national Tag Rugby competition.

Matthew Ferguson, the RFU's National Tag Rugby Development Officer, said: “This is the biggest National Tag Finals with over 30,000 children battling for one of the coveted spots.

“All teams taking part are here because they have won regional competitions so already deserve our congratulations as winners. Whatever the results this should hopefully be the start of a rugby journey for all the players, and a lifelong involvement in this great sport.”


6.7.09

Magdalen College School’s junior cricketers enjoyed a successful U11 summer tour of North Yorkshire.

The Oxford boys played five matches, winning four and drawing one in a rain-curtailed finish.

Highlights of the tour included Niall Devaney’s 105no against Barnard Castle Junior School and his 6-12 against Aysgarth Preparatory School.

Other strong individual performances were Freddie Burton 64no against Barnard Castle and Edmund Smith’s 57 against St Martin’s, Ampleforth.

Burton and Devaney also set a new record wicket partnership of 195 against Barnard Castle, while Devaney finished as the school’s leading wicket taker, with 25 over the season.

Through tour sponsorship, the boys also raised more than £200 for ‘Cricket against Hunger.’


3.7.09

Holy Trinity Lamorbey CE Primary School from Kent will be back at the birthplace of rugby on Wednesday July 8 to defend their national Tag to Twickenham title.

Holy Trinity Lamorbey from Sidcup won the national title 12 months ago when they beat George Fisher Primary School from Winchmore Hill in Middlesex six tries to three in an entertaining final.

They will be among 20 schools taking part in this year's final at Rugby School, where William Webb Ellis is credited with being the first man to pick up and run with a football giving birth to the sport that carries the name of the Warwickshire town.

The Rugby Football Union have been running a far-reaching community Tag Rugby programme across England in conjunction with the Child Victims of Crime charity and YAZOO to encourage the nation's children to participate in sport and pursue a safer and healthier lifestyle.

Teams have qualified for the national finals day through a series of local and regional qualifying events for a competition that has involved around 30,000 children - boys and girls.

Matches at Rugby School next Wednesday kick-off at 10.50am with the final scheduled for 3pm.

The two finalists from next week's event will have the honour of playing against each other at Twickenham Stadium as a curtain-raiser to England's Investec Challenge match against New Zealand on November 21.

England Women's international Sarah Hunter, who plays her club rugby for Lichfield, will be present at the finals day in her role as a Yazoo Tag Rugby Ambassador.

Also present will be former England back-row forward Dean Richards, now director of rugby of Guinness Premiership club Harlequins, who is patron of Child Victims of Crime, the charity of the British Police rugby section, which was set up to children whose lives have been affected by crime.

The CVOC's Tackle Safety programme also helps to bring local communities together by enabling police forces to get involved with local schools and work with them to improve community relations.

Tag Rugby is a non-contact version of the sport that can be played by all ages and which has proved a popular way of introducing participants to rugby.

YAZOO's commitment to supporting grassroots sport in the UK helps the RFU to bring Tag Rugby to over 450,000 school children each year as well as donating balls, tag belts and other equipment to thousands of schools across the country.

The Tag to Twickenham finals day will be preceded on Tuesday July 7 by a new tournament for youngsters, aged between 12 and 16, with moderate learning difficulties.

Eight schools who have qualified from regional finals will take part in the first finals day of this Tag Rugby competition also at Rugby School.

The schools who have qualified for the Tag to Twickenham finals day at Rugby School on July 8 are: John Emmerson Batty Primary School (Cleveland), St Aloysius RC Junior School (Tyne & Wear), Tarleton Holy Trinity CE Primary School (Lancashire), Quinta Primary School (Cheshire), Cudworth Churchfield Primary School (South Yorkshire), Thorne Green Top Primary School (South Yorkshire), The Buchan School (Isle of Man), St Anthony's Catholic Primary School (Birmingham), St Lawrence Primary School (Shropshire), Badgerbrook Primary School (Leicestershire), Bourne Westfield Primary School (Lincolnshire), Burraton CP School (Cornwall), Widey Court Primary School (Devon), Churchend Primary School (Berkshire), Hermitage Primary School (Berkshire), Uplands Community Middle School (Suffolk), West Leigh Junior School (Essex), Holy Trinity Lamorbey CE Primary School (Kent), St Mary's Catholic Primary School (East Sussex), Kingsland Primary School (Herefordshire).


3.7.09

Bootle’s Savio Salesian College have been crowned U16 champions at the inaugural Sefton School Sports Partnership Table Tennis League, based at Formby High School.

Fourteen-year olds David Ratajczak, Liam Shaw, Danny Young and Saul Keelan saw off fierce competition from runners up St Ambrose Barlow High School.

Savio’s U13 team narrowly missed out on second place following a play-off with Formby High School that ended in a 5-5 draw but an agonizing doubles match defeat.


2.7.09

Fifty two school teams will take part in the finals of the English Schools Athletic Association Track and Field Cup at the Copthall Stadium, Barnet this Saturday.

With 14 teams in each of the boys U14 and U16 events and 12 teams in both the girls U14 and U16 competitions, the cream of schools athletics talent will be on show.

Southend High School for Boys Essex are finalists again in the junior boys U14 final having won the competition in 2007 and finishing as runners up 2008.

Southend’s boys are also finalists in the intermediate U16 event and will go into the final on a high after winning in 2007 and 2008.

But the Judd School, from Tonbridge in Kent, should push them all the way as most of their winning 2008 junior team are now in the higher age group.

Southend High School for Girls, winners of the junior U14 girls in both 2007 and 2008, are through to the final again but may be pushed by Guildford High School who were runners up in 2008.

Millfield and Southend have been either winners or runners up for the last two years and both are in the intermediate U16 final this year but watch out for a talented Portsmouth Grammar School team.

All competitions should be extremely close as normally only a few points separate the top two or three teams

Teams have come through a tough series of qualifying rounds with the first county round held in mid May when more than 5000 athletes took part.

The highest scoring school teams then qualified for seven regional finals, from which the winners of all the A finals plus the next five highest scoring teams proceeded to the national final this Saturday.


1.7.09

FootballCV will be hosting a trials day at Nene Park, home to Rushden and Diamonds, which will be attended by some of the Premier League's biggest names.

Premier League sides Arsenal, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur will be amongst an impressive list of attendees, which also includes Coca-Cola Championship sides Leicester City and Ipswich Town, Coca-Cola League 1’s Norwich City and Leeds United, Northampton Town of Coca-Cola League 2, plus Rushden and Diamonds from the Blue Square Premier.

The event is specifically designed for boys aged 6-13, and will be taking place on Sunday 19th July 2009 on pitch 2 at Rushden and Diamonds.

Youngsters can book their places via the website at www.footballcv.com


19.6.09

Whitgift School beat Portsmouth Grammar yesterday in a nail-biting game to reach the final of the David English U13 Bunbury Cup.

In a low-scoring national semi-final, the Surrey champions bowled Portsmouth Grammar out for 129, despite a superb 73 from Henry Farrant.

Tom Kershaw took 2-15 in reply but Whitgift just held on to pass the total with eight wickets down and two balls to spare in the last over.

Whitgift will now play either Stockport Grammar School or Solihull School in the final on July 9 at Oundle School.


17.6.09

Portsmouth Grammar School powered into the semi finals of the David English U13 Bunbury Cup with a comprehensive victory over King’s Hall School, Somerset.

Henry Farant (58), Sam Collings-Wells (46) and Joe Brown (44) helped the Hampshire champions reach 204-5 before bowling King’s Hall out for 89.

Portsmouth Grammar, who had beaten King Edward’s School, Bath, by ten wickets in the previous round after bowling them out for 76, will now host Surrey champions Whitgift in the semi final tomorrow.


16.6.09

Long-serving official Barry Strange was remembered with a minute’s silence at the Oxfordshire Schools Athletics Championships at Tilsley Park, Abingdon.

Barry, who died last week, was a long serving AAA’s official who had tirelessly supported schools athletics for many years.

Four districts took part in the championships with the Vale being crowned overall winners with 590 points closely followed by the North (558), City (501) and South (497).

Highlights included national standard performances from Jacob Wilson (North), who stormed to victory in the intermediate boys 100m in 11.0secs, Danielle Anderson (Vale), who won the intermediate girls javelin with a throw of 38.96m and James Wright (North), who won the intermediate boys triple jump in a huge leap of 13.93m.

Other national standards were reached by C.Berry in the junior girls high jump (1.65m), Rebecca Hussey in the intermediate girls 200m (25.0secs) and 300m (41.0secs) and Jackson Curtis in the intermediate boys javelin (54.64m).


15.6.09

Oakham School marched into the semi-finals of the Lord’s Taverners’ National U15 Colts Trophy with a comfortable eight wicket victory over Nottingham High School.

Nottingham chose to bat on a good wicket and were soon in trouble after some excellent bowling from Sam Tipper (2-8) and Charles Hurley (2-6).

The visitors proceeded to lose wickets at regular intervals with seamer Ben Strong the main destroyer with figures of 4-11 from five overs helping to bowl Nottingham out for 94.

In reply, Oakham lost two quick wickets but an assured partnership between Tom Fell (50no) and Luke Spears (25no) guided the Leicester champions to an excellent victory after just 16.1 overs.

Oakham will now play RGS Newcastle in the national semi finals.

Joining them will be Brentwood School, from Essex, who set up a semi final clash with Millfield by defeating Haberdashers’ Aske’s School by nine wickets.

Haberdashers set what they thought was a tough target of 210 despite three wickets apiece from James Bowler and Kishen Velani.

But a superb unbeaten 122 from Guy Balmford and 63 from Rehan Hassan saw Brentwood race to victory in less than 28 overs.

In the quarter finals of the David English U13 Bunbury Cup, Stockport GS beat QEGS Wakefield to set up a semi final tie with Solihull School, who defeated Leicester GS.

The other semi final will see Whitgift take on Portsmouth GS or King’s Hall School, Somerset, after the Surrey champions defeated Warden Park School, from Sussex.


15.6.09

Truro High School in Cornwall has won the 2009 Good Schools Guide A Level Award for girls taking physical education or sports studies at an English independent school.

The award has been made on the basis of the school’s post16 performance table results in the subject for the last three years and on the subject’s relative popularity.

When compared to schools throughout the country, Truro High came out on top.

According to the Good Schools website, the aim of the awards is to highlight excellent teaching in individual subjects.

“Each year we explore the English A level and GCSE exam data looking for schools where the results in individual subjects shout out that here is some really special teaching – and then we give the best of them awards,” says the website.

Caroline Pascoe, the school’s new headmistress and a former Olympic rower herself, said she was delighted the expertise and professionalism of the teaching team had been officially recognised.

“Deb Freeman and her colleagues work long and hard to help our pupils achieve to the very best of their ability,” she said.

“The school’s exceptional sports’ results speak for themselves. Our hockey teams have won four county titles and our year 8 and 9 netball teams are also county champions.

Jordanna Morrish won the girls’ U15 high jump at the county championships in a new county record and is now ranked number one in the entire country. Also, Lottie Richardson has been selected for England Netball’s U17 squad.

“We want all our girls to fulfil their own potential – whatever that potential might be - and to enjoy and appreciate the benefits of physical exercise. Not everyone can be a sports star but having a healthy body is just as important as having a healthy mind,” Carole added.

Since introducing PE at A level in 2004, the school has achieved a 100% pass rate at both AS and A2 and a 76% pass rate at A or B grades at AS.

Truro High’s latest accolade comes hot on the heels of the best schools website placing it on its top twenty list of girls’ schools nationally. The school also topped Cornwall’s A level and GCSE league tables last year.


12.6.09

Millfield bowled Marlborough College out for 115 to win by 89 runs and power into the semi finals of the Lord’s Taverners’ U15 Schools Trophy.

The Somerset school had earlier been bowled out themselves for 204 but the large total proved too much for the Wiltshire champions.

Millfield will now play either Brentwood School or Haberdasher’s Aske’s from Hertfordshire in the national semi final.


12.6.09

Thousands of children in state schools across the country will enjoy a day of cricket-themed activity on Tuesday June 23 as part of Chance to shine’s National Cricket Day.

As cricket fever starts to sweep the country in a summer of cricket that includes the ICC World Twenty20 and npower Ashes Test Series, pupils from Newcastle to Newquay will take part in cricket classes, break-time batting and bowling and extra-curricular cricket competitions.

The Cricket Foundation, the charity behind the Chance to shine campaign to educate two million state school children through cricket, has developed a unique educational resource, CricEd, to be launched on Chance to shine National Cricket Day.

It offers teachers a range of innovative and interactive cross-curricular lessons that are both cricketing and educational.

Pupils will, for example, learn the difference between acute and obtuse angles in maths through a range of cricket shots, write cricketing Haikus in English and identify the country’s cricket playing counties in geography.

The web-based resource, available at www.chancetoshine.org covers citizenship, humanities, literacy and numeracy.

Wasim Khan, director of operations and development for the Cricket Foundation said: “Chance to shine is breathing new life back into state schools’ cricket, while helping to educate thousands of children through cricket.

“Chance to shine National Cricket Day is a celebration of the benefits that competitive cricket can bring to boys and girls in our state schools.”

England’s Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff lent his support saying: “Chance to shine is kick-starting cricket in state schools again and taking part in National Cricket Day is the best way for schools to support this unbelievable campaign.”

A host of Chance to shine and Professional Cricketers’ Association ambassadors, including members of England men’s and women’s cricket teams and county cricketers, will join in activities at primary and secondary state schools nationwide.

Highlights of Chance to shine National Cricket Day, including support from the whole cricketing community, will see the launch of CricEd at a state secondary school in Hackney, East London, with cricket ambassadors including England women’s captain Charlotte Edwards.

Other highlights will see a joint event with The Lord’s Taverners charity at a school for children with special educational needs in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex and a flagship Chance to shine school devoting the entire school day to cricket, both in the classroom and the playground, in Halifax, West Yorkshire –

In Perranporth, Cornwall, a joint event with Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) will see a schools’ beach cricket tournament taking place all day, including MCC Spirit of Cricket lessons for pupils, at one of the longest stretches of beach in Cornwall and a summer cricket camp in Worcester, supported and run by the British Army, for local state schools involving climbing walls, assault courses and cricket skills activities.

The Cricket Foundation and MCC are also teaming up to launch a special MCC Spirit of Cricket competition on Chance to shine National Cricket Day.

Pupils in participating schools will be encouraged to design A3 poster adverts that promote the ‘play hard, play fair, have fun’ message of the MCC Spirit of Cricket.

The best entry will win a money-can’t-buy prize - tickets for the winner, and family (maximum four people), to the sold-out England v Australia Test match at Lord’s, courtesy of MCC. The winning poster advert will also be displayed on the big screens at Lord’s.

The winner’s school, together with four runners-up, will also receive cricket playground markings from the Cricket Foundation, worth £1,000, that help promote creative playground fun and learning. Full details of the competition can be found on CricEd.

Further details on Chance to shine National Cricket Day and the charitable campaign, including ways to donate, can be found at www.chancetoshine.org


11.6.09

A sensational century from James Carding saw RGS Newcastle surge into the semi finals of the Lord’s Taverners’ National Schools U15 Trophy.

The Newcastle batsman smashed a fantastic unbeaten 140 to topple Trent College’s 40 over total of 222-9 with just two wickets and less than three overs left.

Tillcock hit 70 for Trent College who must have throught they had done enough to win the national quarter final and northern regional final.

But Carding’s innings and RGS Newcastle’s two wicket win will see them play either Oakham School or Nottingham High School in the semi finals.


9.6.09

Seven students from Woodham Community Technology College in Newton Aycliffe are set to pioneer a scheme enabling 16-year-olds to coach on an American Summer Camp for a month.

The programme, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, has been developed in partnership with sports coaching company Woodham and Active Inclusion.

The lucky students, who usually have to be 18, were chosen from a large field of applicants from the school and were put through a rigorous interview process before being offered a place.

As part of the programme, and in the run up to flying out to America, the seven students have been given access to an individually tailored coach education plan involving national governing body awards, practical coaching assessments and in-house training from Active Inclusion.

The students have also marketed and launched their very own multi-skills sports sessions every week in school for younger students to take part in.

Jon Tait, director of student support at Woodham and a key partner in the COACH USA programme said: “This is a wonderful and truly unique opportunity for our students.

“The benefit that this will have to them as young people can not be underestimated. We have already seen fantastic personal development in each and every one of them through their time being mentored by Darren Anderson of Active Inclusion.

“The summer will now be a great way to utilise their energy and enthusiasm for sport and helping young people.”

Their month in America will be spent on Camp Cody (www.cody.org) in New Hampshire where they will be coaching American children aged 7-15.

The camp is a traditional log cabin style camp situated in a stunning location in the heart of New Hampshire.

It offers a multitude of sports including water skiing, wind surfing and kayaking, alongside the traditional sports of baseball, basketball and American Football.

Phil Ross, executive director at Camp Cody, said: “Cody hosts campers and students from across America and around the world.

“We are really looking forward to establishing an ongoing close relationship with Woodham Technology College and the Greater Durham Community by hosting local students in our camp counselor and sports/waterfront teaching programmes.”
.
More information on the COACH USA programme can be found by contacting Jon Tait, director of student support at Woodham on 01325 300328 or Darren Anderson, managing director of Active Inclusion on 07891 594706.


8.6.09

Girls from the Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hampton’s rowing squad won two gold medals at the National Schools’ Regatta in Nottingham.

The J18 coxless four - Fiona Schlesinger, Lauren Bruce, Anna-Lena Elkington and Charlotte Black - won their final by 0.4 of a second from St Neot’s Community College, Cambridgeshire, and Kingston Grammar School.

The J16 coxed four - Louisa Bolton, Thea Vukasinovic, Cara Duckworth, Rosie Robson and cox Charlotte Trundley - won gold and the Anna Fangen Cup after finishing in first place ahead of Latymer Upper School and St George’s College.

The girls’ Eights, the LEH ‘A’ team finished in silver medal position, behind Headington School while the LEH ‘B’ team secured the bronze medal place.


5.6.09

Queenswood

Queenswood School, from Hertfordshire, finished fourth in the girl’s team competition at the International School Sports Federation World Schools’ Tennis Championships at the Worriken Sports Centre in Belgium.

Queenswood’s team - Holly Leonard (16), Erin Dickinson (16), Shona Young (15), Dominique Gilbert (15), Holly Reid (14) and Anya Lofinmakin-Dutta (14), qualified for the quarter finals after drawing 3-3 with Turkey but winning 34-33 on games.

After beating Italy 4-1 in the quarters, Queenswood’s lost 4-0 to Kaohsiung Municipal Sanmin Senior High School from Chinese Taipei in the semi finals and China in the third place play-off.

But Pam Hall, Queenswood’s director of tennis, said: “To come fourth overall, for our team to represent England and to share a week with players from all around the world was an amazing experience with many friendships formed.”


3.6.09

Oakham School powered their way into the national quarter finals of the Lord’s Taverners’ U15 Trophy yesterday after an impressive victory over a much-vaunted Shrewsbury School

Tom Fell took 3-27 and Sam Tipper, Alex Bake and Will Danskin two wickets each as Shrewsbury were bowled out for 209.

Will Edwards hit a glorious unbeaten 97 in reply and his partnership with Fell (70) proved significant as Oakham won by six wickets.

Torquay Grammar School’s brave run in the competition was finally ended in the last sixteen by Millfield whose 249-8 proved 52 runs too many for the Devon champions.

Millfield will now play Marlborough College who scored 178-6 before bowling Strade School out for 84 to win by 94 runs


2.6.09

Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and Yewlands Technology College are welcoming former Secretary of State for Education David Blunkett MP to a Football And Schools Together (F.A.S.T.) after school homework session.

Yewlands Technology College and Sheffield Wednesday FC are part of a £270,000 national scheme which is funded by the Football Foundation, a sports charity committed to funding grass roots football, and is being managed by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Collaborative Partnerships Office (CPO), which develops strategic partnerships with education providers and promotes wider participation.

David Blunkett MP for Sheffield Brightside will visit the homework session at Yewlands Technology College, on Thursday June 4.

Premiership football clubs across the country have signed up to the F.A.S.T scheme that encourages school children to do their homework.

Twenty two professional football clubs, including Everton, Fulham, Portsmouth and Stoke have joined the FAST (Football and Schools Together) scheme, which rewards attendance at homework clubs with professional football coaching.

The local focus of F.A.S.T. Forward has proved popular with football clubs as it fits well with the agenda of Football in the Community.

From September 2008, UEFA-trained coaches from Sheffield Wednesday FC have been making weekly visits to Yewlands Technology College to deliver an hour’s football coaching to male and female pupils from year 9 who attend the school’s homework club.

Catherine Campbell, manager of the project, said: “F.A.S.T. has been very successful at Yewlands Technology College as homework clubs are not always attractive to young people.

“Having football coaching as a reward for attendance at the homework club has motivated pupils to attend. Football is a very powerful motivator and can be a real force in inspiring children and encouraging participation.

“Recent MMU research has also shown that children who are physically active are up to eight times more likely to excel at exams, as well as benefiting from improving their literacy, numeracy and computer skills at homework clubs.”


21.5.09

Former BBC Sports Personality of the Year Fatima Whitbread was the guest of honour at Shenfield High School's 10th annual sports awards.

The former world javelin champion and world record holder presented prizes to winners including the boys U16 and girls U13 teams, who were county champions at football, basketball and cricket.

Garry Sapsford, head of PE, said: “Fatima gave up three hours of her own time at short notice. She really has inspired many of our students with her words and genuine interest in our students’ sporting participation. We cannot thank her enough.”


21.5.09

Teachers were put through their paces at the IAPS national prep schools cricket coaches conference at Bromgrove School.

More than 50 delegates from more than 30 IAPS schools from Glasgow to Dover attended the event with coaching sessions delivered by ECB staff.

Claire Taylor, England Women’s World Cup winner and Mark Lane, England’s women’s coach teamed up to deliver a range of batting drills and practices while Tim Dellor, ECB head coach and Richard Johnson took delegates through aspects of bowling and associated skills activities.

Tony Robson, Northumberland/Newcastle cricket development officer, put teachers through their paces with a wide range of fielding drills and games.

Event organiser Michael McKaughan, headmaster of Denmead School in Hampton, Middlesex, said: “Throughout the day, each coach contributed an insight of their individual coaching philosophy along with a number of key technical points that blended in seamlessly with all the physical involvement.

“Of the various ideas imparted, two refreshing attitudes revolved around the danger of over-coaching children.

“The importance of allowing a degree of individuality and therefore, not to change a particular style just for the sake of technical perfection came through loud and clear.

“Equally, and particularly when batting, players need to be comfortable and willing to hit the ball rather than being too hampered by the fear of not always producing text book quality strokes.”

The conference concluded with a question and answer session with the panel of coaches offering advice from their own knowledge and experience.

Michael added: “The whole day was one of full involvement and high quality instruction, much appreciated by those attending.

“Delegates departed with a wealth of skills and drills to take back to their respective schools ready for the start of the new season.

“It is clear from discussions with Peter Ackerley, the ECB’s head of development, at IAPS sport committee and individual discussions, that there exists a genuine desire to develop greater liaison between the two bodies.

“This way IAPS can receive more support in developing its provision for cricket throughout its membership.

“A number of initiatives are at the planning stage and one aspect that could develop from this is certificated coaching courses for IAPS teaching staff that would benefit the coaching of the sport at all levels in our schools.”


20.5.09

Five school playgrounds in the Manchester area have been redeveloped into Urban Cricket Zones to help children with an interest in the sport to practise and develop their skills.

The schools that have benefited from this project are Cheetham CofE Primary School, Temple Primary School, St Chad’s Primary School, Crumpsall Lane Primary School, Cheetwood Community Primary School.

England cricket star Graeme Swann today marked the official opening of the zones as well as a new npower Urban Cricket facility in Bignor Street Playing Field, Manchester.

The new facility, which has transformed a disused area of the park, is the last of five purpose-built cricket facilities to be opened across the country as part of the Urban Cricket initiative.

It provides a permanent space for children in Manchester to learn and practice their cricket skills, turning them into possible stars of the future.

Working in partnership with Manchester City Council and the Lancashire County Cricket Board, the development of the facility and its five supporting zones, creates a tiered community development programme with a clear route for children to follow, from learning basic skills all the way up to playing club cricket.

Graeme Swann said: “It's fantastic to see initiatives such as npower Urban Cricket giving youngsters the chance to get out there and play the game. It’s going to make a real difference to the local community and will hopefully produce plenty more first class cricketers in the area.”

Fellow England cricketer Ravi Bopara added: “The npower Urban Cricket facilities are a great way of developing a legacy for the game and allowing children in the area to practise their skills.”

Npower Urban Cricket, a grassroots project run in conjunction with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), was launched in 2006 to get more children playing cricket.

Since its launch, npower and the ECB have distributed over 60,000 Urban Cricket kits to children in the UK. The scheme plans to distribute a further 10,000 kits this summer.

More recently, the focus for Urban Cricket has shifted to the development of five facilities with five Urban Cricket zones in school playgrounds surrounding each of the facilities.

For more information on Urban Cricket, visit www.npower.com/cricket


18.5.09

Warden Park School continued their march into the last sixteen of the national David English Bunbury U13 Cricket Cup with a 30 run victory over London champions Colfe’s School.

Colfe’s, who beat Eltham College from Kent by 145 runs in the last round, thought they had the upper hand after restricting the Sussex state school to 118-9 in their 35 overs, despite 64 from Finn Hudson-Prentice.

But an inspired all-round spell of bowling saw Warden Park bowl Colfe’s out for just 88 and surge into the south east semi-final against Norfolk champions Beeston Hall School.


15.5.09

Thorpe St Andrew School kept the flag flying for Norfolk in the Lord’s Taverners U15 Cup with a hard-fought 16 run second round victory over Queen Elizabeth High School, Lincs.

Benson took five wickets as Thorpe St Andrew reached 183-8 in their 40 overs but QEHS fell just short despite brave knocks from Moody (29), Appleyard (21) and Benson (21).


15.5.09

More 450 schoolgirls from across the country will battle it out next week for a place at the Carnegie Champion Schools National Finals at RAF Uxbridge on Friday August 28.

Ten teams at four age groups will battle it out in a series of festivals with the top two teams on the day going on to contest the final.

Castleford High are once again represented at all four age groups while there will be three teams present from Settle College and St John Fisher.

The Midlands region, currently enjoying a boom in secondary schools playing, will have teams at all age groups, while teams from the north east and London will also be taking part.

The festivals will take place at Hopwood Hall College, Middleton Campus - with the U12 and U14 girls competing next Tuesday and the U13 and U15s next Thursday, both with 1pm kick offs.

Taking part will be Feltham, Orleans Park, Bullers Wood, Barrs Hill, President Kennedy, Frederick Gent, St Johns, Hollingworth, De La Salle, St John Fisher, Whitehaven, Holy Cross, West Lakes, Wade Deacon, Southlands, Deanery, Settle Middle, St Wilfrids, Castleford, South Leeds, King James, North Halifax, Freeston and Settle College.


15.5.09

Entries are now open for the Marion Smith Netball Championships 2009 for people with learning disabilities.

The competition is now in its fourth year and will take place at The Priory School in Hitchin, Hertfordshire - the home of England Netball – on June 13.

This season’s competition will be split into two age groups, U17 and over 17, and is open to affiliated and non-affiliated netball clubs and schools across the country.

The Marion Smith Netball Championship is in memory of Marion Smith, a positive and inspiring person who led England Netball’s work in the field of disability sport and played an instrumental part in setting up netball championships whilst improving netball opportunities for disabled people.

Organiser of the event Alice Chadfield, said: “This competition provides an enjoyable day for players and spectators alike and we are encouraging as many teams as possible to take part. You don’t even have to be affiliated.

“It couldn’t be easier to enter. Simply visit the competition section of the England Netball website and download an application form. We look forward to seeing you on the 13th June.”

The Marion Smith Netball Championships booking form is available online at
www.englandnetball.co.uk/Competition/Marion_Smith_Disability_Championships/Season_20082009

Closing date for entries is Wednesday May 27


14.5.09

A century apiece from Steven Leach (113no) and Jack Hudson Williams (101no) carried Shrewsbury School into the last sixteen of the Lord’s Taverners U15 Cup.

The rare double century helped Shrewsbury reach 276-2 and beat Bedford School by 76 runs, despite an unbeaten 98 from Humphreys.

They will now meet Oakham School after the Leicestershire champions judged a difficult run chase perfectly to defeat Rugby School by six wickets.

Harry Wilson hit 78 for Rugby as they reached 194-4 in their 35 overs but 49 from Cook and an unbeaten 62 from Fell saw Oakham home with eight balls to spare.

Further south, Springfield School in Portsmouth enjoyed mixed fortunes on their Lord’s Taverners' debut campaign.

The first round saw them progress with a six wicket victory over Ryde School thanks to 52 from Rooks.

But they were brought firmly down to earth in round two with a comprehensive defeat by Torquay Boys Grammar School.

Torquay, previous conquerors of Canford, rattled up an impressive 214-5, with Lewis top-scoring with 69.

Then the Devon champions skittled their Hampshire counterparts out for just 26 (Abbott 4-15) to set up a third round tie against Millfield.


13.5.09

Schools all over Manchester will take part in the Greater Manchester Sports Championships on Saturday 27 June at the city’s Wright Robinson Sports College.

Pupils from years 7 and 8 from all over Tameside are training at academies and working with voluntary sports club coaches to prepare for the event.

Sports involved include rugby, netball, rowing, cycling, table tennis, football and badminton.


12.5.09

Darlington Football Club and Haughton Community School welcomed Alan Milburn MP to a Football And Schools Together (F.A.S.T.) professional coaching session at the Education Village.

Haughton Community School and Darlington FC are part of a £270,000 national scheme, funded by the Football Foundation, which develops strategic partnerships with education providers and promotes wider participation.

Premiership football clubs across the country have signed up to the F.A.S.T scheme that encourages school children to do their homework.

Twenty two clubs, including Everton, Fulham, Portsmouth and Stoke, have joined the FAST (Football and Schools Together) scheme, which rewards attendance at homework clubs with professional football coaching.

UEFA-trained coaches from Darlington FC have been making weekly visits to Haughton Community School to deliver an hour’s football coaching to youngsters from years 8 to 11 who attend the school’s homework club for at least an hour a week.

Alan Milburn MP said: “I was delighted to visit the very innovative F.A.S.T. project, which offers both education and sport. It was so encouraging to see the youngsters enjoying sporting activity and learning key academic skills at the same time.

“I want to congratulate both the Football Foundation and Manchester Metropolitan University for their work in developing this partnership.”

Catherine Campbell, manager of the project, said: “FAST has been very successful at Haughton School as homework clubs are not always attractive for youngsters the football coaching from Darlington FC has proved to be really successful. Football is a very powerful motivator and can be a real force in inspiring children and encouraging participation.”

Recent research has also shown that children who are physically active are up to eight times more likely to excel at exams, as well as benefiting from improving their literacy, numeracy and computer skills at homework clubs.

Football clubs taking part in the scheme are Barnsley, Burnley, Bristol Rovers, Crystal Palace, Darlington, Derby County, Everton, Fulham, Grimsby Town, Ipswich Town, Nottingham Forest, Norwich City, Portsmouth, Queens Park Rangers, Rochdale, Sheffield Wednesday, Southend United, Stoke City, Tranmere Rovers, Walsall and Watford.


11.5.09

Dr Challoner’s Grammar School surged into the last 16 of the Lord’s Taverners U15 Trophy with a seven wicket victory over Reigate Grammar School.

Jamie Gardiner took 5-23 and Alex Morgan 3-20 as Reigate were bowled out for 125, despite 62 from Bidlake.

Skipper Gardiner (37no) also contributed with the bat as he and Henry White (52) saw the Buckinghamshire champions through to a south east semi-final with either Harrow or Haberdashers’ Aske’s.

Millfield also made it though to the last 16 with a 36 run win over Cheltenham College thanks to 78 from Lewis-Williams.


11.5.09

Several school playgrounds in the Nottingham area have been redeveloped into Urban Cricket Zones to help children with an interest in the sport to practice and develop their skills.

The schools that have benefited from the project are Jesse Boot Primary, Greenwood Infant and Nursery, Greenwood Junior, William Booth Infant and Nursery, Sneinton Church of England Primary, Hogarth Primary and Nursery, Bluebell Hill Primary, Huntingdon Primary, Sycamore Primary and Walter Halls Primary and Nursery School.

Working in partnership with Nottingham City Council and the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Board, a new npower Urban Cricket facility in the city’s King Edward Park, Nottingham was also opened by England cricketer Stuart Broad

He said: “It's fantastic to see initiatives such as npower Urban Cricket giving youngsters the chance to get out there and play the game.

“It’s going to make a real difference to the local community and will hopefully produce plenty more first class cricketers for Notts.”

npower Urban Cricket, a grassroots project run in conjunction with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), was launched in 2006 with the aim of getting more children playing cricket.

Since its launch, npower and the ECB have distributed over 60,000 Urban Cricket kits to children in the UK and plan to distribute a further 10,000 kits this summer.

More recently the focus for Urban Cricket has shifted to the development of five facilities with five Urban Cricket zones in school playgrounds surrounding each of the facilities.

The first facility was opened by Monty Panesar in South London in August 2007. The second, in Sheffield, was opened by Ryan Sidebottom in April 2008 and the third, in Birmingham, by Ian Bell in August 2008.

The fifth and final facility in Manchester will be opened by James Anderson later this month.


8.5.09

Holders Oundle have been knocked out of the Lords Taverners U15 Schools Trophy in the first round by close rivals Oakham School.

Dom Cook scored an unbeaten 62 for Leicester champions Oakham and was helped by some lusty late hitting from Dillon Mistry as they totalled 172-8 in their 40 overs.

Despite a quickfire 50 in eight overs in reply, spinners Turner (4-30) and Fell (3-29) reduced Oundle to 55-6 before they were bowled out for 127 in 29 overs.

Oakham will now travel to Rugby School next Wednesday for a vital second round clash.

Brentwood School meanwhile have proved themselves another early front-runner for the U15 trophy with a 177 run demolition over Cambridgeshire champions The Perse School.

Kishen Velani smashed 104 while Mark Baldock hit 75 and Guy Balmford an unbeaten 44 as the Essex side amassed a huge total of 316-6.

In reply, Rehan Hassan took five wickets for just seven runs in a devastating spell of bowling to reduce The Perse School, who had beaten Ipswich’s Royal Hospital School in the first round, to 139 all out.


6.5.09

Brentwood School’s girls’ U11 foil team fought their way to victory in the British Schools Team Fencing Championships

The team - Jessica Love, Fleur Sumption and Bella White – defended the title they won last year by beating Guildford High School 45-9 in the final match.

Competing against teams from all over Britain, the girls got off to a nervous start, fighting Ipswich High School and beating them in a close fight scoring 45 – 39.

But the team grew in confidence and remained unbeaten during the competition with a good use of distance and accurate blade work.

Fencing coach David Taylor said: “The team got off to a shaky start but proved that all the hard work they have put in this year has been worth it.”


5.5.09

Camborne Community College from Cornwall put up a brave fight before bowing out of the Lord’s Taverners U15 National Schools Trophy first round to Millfield.

Rowe hit 70 as Camborne totalled 169-5 in their 40 overs but 55 from Bhawick and a 100 partnership between Bhawick and Hooper saw the former winners home by seven wickets with seven overs to go.

RGS Newcastle also made it through to the second round of the U15 Trophy after bowling out Sedbergh School for 113 and winning by six wickets thanks to an unbeaten 63 from Carding.

They will be joined by Dr Challoners Grammar School, from Buckinghamshire, who beat Magdalen College, Oxford by six wickets after bowling them out for 57.

Rugby School beat Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoat School at the second attempt by 115 runs.

Harry Wilson (74no) and Theo McKibbin (72no) helped Rugby reach 200-2 before Will Haszard’s 5-17 restricted the Bluecoat School to 85-9.

Trembling took five wickets for Trent College as they skittled Hymers College out for just 46 to win by 153 runs.


4.5.09

New Hall School U13s stormed to a 20-0 victory in the Year 8 Trophy final of the HSBC Rugby Union Festival at Twickenham.

New Hall led from the second minute against Western Road High School, Stafford, before running out 20-0 with tries from Dominic Morris (2), Casey Morgan and George Perkins.

Adrian Sweeney, head of rugby and team coach said: “It is a dream, even for professional rugby players, to play at Twickenham and the boys certainly won't forget their experience.

“It was a very proud moment for the team, and for New Hall, especially given that the year 8 boys are only the second in the New Hall’s boys' division after 364 years as a girls' school.”

After winning the Mid-Essex Schools’ Cup by defeating St Martins School, Brentwood, 34-0, New Hall won ten matches to win the Essex Championship for the first time – beating Honywood School, Coggleshall, 15-7 in the final.

A victory in the HSBC Rugby Festival London North Regional final against Cambridgeshire champions Hinchingbrooke School 15-10 win saw them earn their place in the finals’ qualifying matches at Staines RFC before their sensational final triumph at Twickenham before the annual Army v Navy Babcock Trophy match, which attracted a record 55,803 crowd.

Mr Sweeney added: “The achievements this year are down to tremendous work by the boys. Winning the full Essex Cup in April was fantastic in itself and now they have won this national competition for emerging schools in rugby.

“Many of our boys have also been recognised as having a special talent with one boy on the books of Saracens and seven boys on the Essex Elite Players School of Rugby group.”

(Full a full report of the festival final, check out the June edition of School Sport Magazine)


28.4.09

A partnership of 64 between Goldstone (37no) and Taylor (20no) saw St Albans School, from Hertfordshire, defeat Aylesbury Grammar School by eight wickets in the first round of the David English Bunbury U13 Schools Cup.

St Albans, who bowled Aylesbury out for 76 before knocking the runs off for the loss of two wickets, now face Middlesex champions Queen Elizabeth School in round two.

In the Lords Taverners U15 National Schools Trophy first round, Marlborough College hit 200 all out before restricting Clifton College to 155-7 to win by 45 runs.

Cambridgeshire champions The Perse School scored 133-2 to beat Royal Hospital School, Ipswich by eight wickets.


27.4.09

Anticipation is building with finals day in the HSBC Rugby Union Festivals just under a week away.

Thousands of young rugby players at state schools either new to the game or still getting to know it have taken part in local, county and regional festivals and are ready for the exciting national finals at Staines RFC and Twickenham Stadium on Saturday May 2.

HSBC rugby ambassador Jason Robinson - the former British & Irish Lions star and World Cup winner for England - will be the star guest as six categories of boys' teams in years 7 to 9 and girls in year 7 take part in games of fast-paced 10-a-side rugby at Staines.

These matches will also be watched by England Women's internationals Catherine Spencer, Jo McGilchrist and Natalie Binstead, and twelve lucky teams will go forward to play in the afternoon before and at half-time of the Army v Navy Babcock Trophy match, in front of up to 50,000 spectators at Twickenham Stadium.

Robinson, the newly appointed head coach at Sale Sharks, visited many of the regional HSBC Rugby Festivals held around the country in the last few months.

And the man who scored the try which helped win the 2003 Rugby World Cup final for England said: “Being involved and doing training drills with these young players has been fun and hopefully it will encourage them to keep playing rugby in the future.

“It's good to target kids from non rugby schools like these. There are so many other sports and distractions for kids these days so it's good to actively go out there and promote the game to them."

From the year 7 girls of Whickham School in Gateshead who qualified from the North East event to the year 9 boys of Carisbrooke High School on the Isle of Wight, there will be shared experiences among the 52 school squads - that's more than 600 players - from around the country who will converge on Staines.

Coombe Boys School from New Malden entered the boys' year 9 Shield at the London South event at KCS Old Boys RFC a few miles from Twickenham.

It was Coombe's first venture into competitive rugby and PE teacher Matt Pellett said: “We had played a couple of friendlies when these boys were in year 7 but at the moment we do not have enough players to get up a fixture list.

“The HSBC Rugby Festivals allowed the boys to meet stronger opposition. They really enjoyed the competition and that can only help them understand the game more, and get more out of their rugby.”

To foster links with the British Army Garrison rugby clubs in Germany, two guest teams from the King's School have received special invitations to cross the Channel and take part in the year 7 and 8 Shield competitions at Staines.

Their players and those of all the HSBC Rugby Festival finalists will be hoping to emulate London Wasps and England flanker Tom Rees, who had been playing the game for just four months when he found himself in the Harriet Costello School's U12 team at Twickenham - and has never looked back.


24.4.09

Pupils at St Bede’s Catholic College in Bristol and footballers in the local community are celebrating an award of a £758,229 grant by the Football Foundation, the UK’s largest sports charity.

The cash award completes the funding required to allow St Bede’s and Bristol City Council to build a state of the art 3G Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP), changing rooms and car parking.

The investment in the facilities for football at St Bede’s will cost an estimated £1.6m and is expected to be fully completed in September 2010. Local football groups who will be able to use the new facilities outside of school time.

This development jointly funded by the Football Foundation, FIFA, Bristol City Council and the Governors of St Bede’s will complement the Building School for the Future (BSF) project at the college taking place across the city.

Building work at St Bede’s started this week and will result in a new teaching block along side new sports hall, tennis and netball courts.

St Bede’s reputation as an “outstanding” school as judged by OFSTED with specialisms in science and sport is looking to a future where the college will be widely know as a centre of excellence for sport with the facilities to match.

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation said: “We warmly congratulate St Bede’s College and the Gloucestershire County FA for their hard work and dedication in securing this award.

“Sport is playing a central role in helping people to stay fit, strengthen communities and promote responsibility amongst young people.”

Catherine Hughes, principal at St Bede’s, said: “We have worked hard to secure this huge investment, and are grateful to the Football Foundation for this grant which helps complete funding for the scheme.

“Once completed, our pupils and Lawrence Weston and will have excellent sports facilities. Recreational sport is of such importance for all. With these new facilities we look towards the future with great optimism.”


23.4.09

Glasgow Warriors captain Alastair Kellock visited Auchinairn Primary School in Bishopbriggs yesterday to explain to pupils how his asthma hasn’t held him back from achieving his sporting ambitions.

Kellock, who has played 15 times for Scotland, is a former pupil of Bishopbriggs High School and was a speaker at Asthma UK Scotland’s 15th birthday celebrations at Murrayfield Stadium in September.

The visit is part of Asthma UK Scotland’s work with Auchinairn to mark its first-ever fundraising and awareness week ‘Putting Asthma in the Limelight’, which runs from 2-10 May.

Pupils from Auchinairn with asthma are also going to be speaking at a meeting of the Cross Party Group on Asthma in the Scottish Parliament on 6 May.

The pupils are Asthma UK Scotland’s ‘Young Ambassadors’, a scheme which encourages children and young people with asthma to use their own experiences to change people’s perceptions of the condition.

Gordon Brown, Asthma UK Scotland’s public affairs and communications manager, says: “We are very grateful to Scottish Rugby, and to Alastair Kellock in particular, for helping us highlight that young people no longer need to worry about missing out on opportunities simply because they have asthma.

“We now have young ambassadors from across the country, but they have tended to be individuals working on their own initiative and in their own time. Before now, we had never had a school embrace the idea so whole-heartedly as Auchinairn Primary School have.

“Unfortunately, Scotland has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the world. We reckon there are three children with asthma in every classroom. And it can be a much more serious condition than some people realise.

“In the UK every 16 minutes a child is admitted to hospital due to an asthma attack and a person dies every seven hours as a result of asthma.”

Alastair Kellock says: “I’ve never let my asthma hold me back and it’s important to me that I encourage young people not to let it stand in the way of their future ambitions.

“Asthma UK has done some fantastic work helping people of all ages deal with the condition and I’m delighted to help wherever I can, especially in an area so local to me.”

Kirsty Rawley, Auchinairn’s deputy head said: “We are also grateful to Alastair for taking the time out to speak to the pupils. The teaching staff recognise their pupils’ well-being is a vital part of their development, as well as the need to ensure a greater understanding of common conditions such as asthma.

‘Through our work with Asthma UK Scotland, the children with asthma are realising the issues they face are not unique and we hope that that in itself will lead to them having more confidence and wanting to make a difference for themselves and for others.”


22.4.09

St Dominic Savio RC Primary School in Woodley won the boys team title while ten-year-old Daniel McTiernan won the individual boys crown at the inaugural Wokingham District Primary Schools Table Tennis championships.

Daniel McTiernan beat his school mate Christian Savage 2-0 in a high quality match while the boys consolation event was won by Aldryngton Primary (Earley) pupil Tom Virgo.

In a close encounter, which went to deuce in the deciding game, he overcame Edmund Hallewell of St Dominics 2-1.

The first girls champion was Jaskaram Kaur of Beechwood School, who ran out a 2-0 winner in a well contested final against fellow Beechwood pupil Sophie Ward.

Bronze medals were awarded to the following six losing semi finalists: boys main Tyler Frost (Beechwood) and Joshua Gallen (St Dominic), boys consolation - Michael Rae-Allen (St Dominic) and Timur Charles (Aldryngton), girls - Rhian Gibson (St Dominic) and Megan Stevens (Beechwood).

Twenty two players from four schools took part in the competition, hosted by Beechwood School and attended by St Dominics, Beechwood, Nine Mile Ride and Aldryngton. Beechwood won both the boys B and girls titles.

If any primary school in the district would like to take part next year or arrange a friendly match, contact Gordon Davies (0118 9695976) or Adam McTiernan (0118 9440965).


20.4.09

A scheme to rejuvenate table tennis in schools in Berkshire is paying dividends.

Our Lady of Peace Table Tennis Club’s initiative to place tables in primary schools has seen a dramatic increase in competitive play in primary schools in the Reading and Wokingham area - culminating in tournaments run by Adam McTiernan at Beechwood Primary School.

John Cunningham, secretary of the Berkshire Schools Table Tennis Association, said: “More rank and file youngsters are being brought into our sport and several senior players, funded by OLOP TTC have gained the new coaching qualification, another good sign for the future.”

Healthy eating weeks and similar events linked to exercise have allowed OLOP into local schools, where hundreds of youngsters have been given a chance to sample table tennis, along with other sports.

Tables for outdoor use are also being placed in Reading parks as part of a Big Lottery project.

Anyone interested in offering help and support can contact John Cunningham on 01189 665907 or beryl.cunningham1@tesco.net


17.4.09

Ten hockey Olympians and six national players descended on Cranleigh Prep School in Surrey for the opening of a new artificial all-weather pitch.

Highlight of the pitch opening – the first in the prep school and the fourth in total at Cranleigh – was a hockey match between present and past players and a star-studded invitation XI.

The pitch is named the Westcott Pitch after David Westcott, a former pupil at both Cranleigh Prep and the Senior School and a current governor, who captained Great Britain to a bronze medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.


9.4.09

Teams from England, Guernsey, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Scotland and Wales met for the Primary Schools’ International Table Tennis Championships, staged by the English Schools’ Table Tennis Association at St Bede’s RC High School in Blackburn.

Scotland’s Ying Jin, Blair Fowler, Garry Wright, Christopher Wheeler and Lia Chao, dominated the boys’ team event - recording three 10–0 and two 9–1 victories.

England’s Hilikiah Adebanjo, Daniel McTiernan, Damola Fenuyi, Alex Nagle and Dave Pilkington pipped Ireland for second place following a 5–5 draw in the team match of eight singles and two doubles, winning 21 -18 on countback.

England’s Tin Tin Ho, Emily Bolton, Lydia Anslow, Hannah Noutch and Suzanne Airey deservedly won the girls’ team championships with three wins and a draw against Wales (Beth Roberts, Lauren Cundy, Sasha Denby, Laura Edwards and NPC Joanne Clark) who took the silver medal position.

Following two days of team matches, day three was devoted to individual group and knockout events.

Both finals were fought with skill and maturity with nine year old Christopher Wheeler (Scotland) beating fellow team mate Blair Fowler to become the boys’ champion and Tin Tin Ho (England) taking the girls’ crown by beating Beth Roberts (Wales).


2.4.09

Truro College and Millfield School won the Daily Mail RBS U18 and U15 Schools Cup Finals at Twickenham yesterday while John Cleveland College and The Leys School, Cambridge, won the U18 and U15 Vase Finals (for full reports see the April edition of School Sport Magazine).


1.4.09

Fulbridge School won the Peterborough RUFC Schools Challenge Tag Tournament played at the Midlands One club's Fengate ground.

Eight other schools - Beeches, Matley, Heritage Park, Orton St John's, William Law, Melbourne, Werrington Primary and Parnwell - took part in the tournament and were divided in Peterborough North and Peterborough South groups.

Fulbridge won the North section and defeated South winners Orton St John's in the final. Both sides were presented with a trophy but Fulbridge collected a further prize, presented by Councillor Patricia Nash, the Mayor of Peterborough, as overall winners.

Peterborough, who took over the sponsorship and organising of the event this season, donated a kit bag and two Tag kits to each participating school.

Peterborough hope that the continued success of the competition, for youngsters aged between nine and eleven, will allow the tournament to become an annual event and for the number of participating schools to increase.

“The schools organisers, Paul Workman and Tom Erskine, put a lot of preparatory work into the event and they were super with all the players,” said East Midlands' president Derek Watkins.

“The tournament brought together all creeds with many nationalities being represented throughout the teams.

“I was very impressed with the team-work, the skills on display and the manners of the players.

“The Mayor of Peterborough also said how much she enjoyed watching the very high standard of rugby and urged all the players to keep playing rugby in the years ahead.”

Referees for the tournament were provided by the Peterborough Lions and Westwood clubs.


1.4.09

Farlingaye High School will send two teams to the national finals day of the HSBC Rugby Union Festivals programme at Twickenham this season.

The Woodbridge school's boys teams both recorded substantial wins in the London North regional finals at Bishop's Stortford RFC in the year 8 Shield and year 9 Shield competitions.

Joining them on the road to Twickenham are three victorious Essex teams – St Helena (year 7 Shield) from Dunmow, Robert Clack (year 7 Trophy), from Dagenham, and New Hall (year 8 Trophy) from Chelmsford.

Also through by the narrowest margin are the year 7 girls team from Presdales, in Hertford, while the runners-up in the year 8 Shield, Wanstead, also qualify to take part on May 2 when England and Lions hero Jason Robinson will be watching them in action.

Hundreds of HSBC rugby festivals have been taking place throughout England, providing a national competition for more than 50,000 children from schools that traditionally had little contact with the game.

More than 430 schools took part in a series of festivals run by the Rugby Football Union throughout Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex and Middlesex, the counties that make up the RFU's London North region.

New Hall, from Chelmsford, booked their place at the national finals three years after taking up the game when boys were first admitted to the school.

Only 25 play the game in year 8 but they squeezed past Hinchingbrooke 15-10 with tries from Luke Pordham and Casey Morgan.

“We can't wait for finals day,” said head of rugby Adrian Sweeney. “This is the third year we've reached the regional finals so we were determined to make it to Twickenham.”

On May 2 the seven London North qualifiers take part in the HSBC Rugby Festivals finals day, where 60 teams battle it out at Staines RFC in the morning with the grand finals of the six categories taking place on the pitch at Twickenham Stadium in the afternoon, as curtain-raisers and at half-time during the annual Army v Navy game for the Babcock Trophy.

The festivals are supported by HSBC, the Principal Partner of the British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa in 2009. Sport England have also provided a matched funding grant for the programme.

This is the first time that a grass roots campaign spans all four home unions, as well as South Africa. The programme will reach more than 60,000 school children and 3,000 teachers and coaches across 300 youth festivals in the UK and Ireland and form strong cultural links with schools in South Africa.

In England, the HSBC Rugby Festivals will incorporate the existing RFU Emerging Schools programme that comprises more than 150 individual events. Young players take part in U12, 13 and 14 categories at local, county and regional festivals.


30.3.09

The Leys School will travel from the heart of Cambridge to the home of England Rugby, Twickenham Stadium, this Wednesday after reaching the final of the U15 Vase in their first season of participation in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Cup competitions.

To get a foretaste of the experience awaiting them, The Leys had a run-out at Grange Road - home to the Cambridge University rugby team - as coach Alex Welby explained.

“We wanted to get the boys used having grandstands in their sight lines. The semi-finals at Broadstreet RFC has already given them a good idea of the routine of a finals day too,” he said.

Welby coached Wellington College to a Schools Cup final at Twickenham in 1994, before taking a break from the game for a while to coach chess.

His return to rugby at The Leys, a Methodist school much less renowned than Wellington for its rugby, has been a revelation.

“This is all part of an educational experience for the boys,” said Welby. “They love being a part of the team and, as a one-term rugby school, our last two matches have been the quarter-final and semi-final of the Vase.

“We have three players attached to Northampton Saints' Academy - fly half Will Hooley, outside centre Will McGahey and No.8, Olly Houghton - and I have been impressed by what they have learned there.

“I came back to rugby and found these boys of 14 and 15 who understood the playing of the game much more than I'd encountered before.”

The Leys' ban on mentioning the word "Twickenham" before or during their semi-final – “one boy wanted to but he was shouted down,” said Welby - is over now and they are looking forward to the big day.

King's, Macc - or to give them their full title, The King's School in Macclesfield - will make their 15-a-side debut at Twickenham Stadium in the Daily Mail RBS Schools U15 Vase Final.

As the only northern team from eight playing on the day they will be carrying with them the hopes of schools rugby not just in Cheshire but across the north west.

The school is over 500 years old and has a reputation to match with rugby steadily improving and the success of this year's U15s the best example of that.

After getting to the last 16 of the Vase last year (losing to local rivals Sandbach), coaches John Percival and Mark Harbord have done a great job to keep improving their team.

King's, Macc had to endure a nail-biting 7-5 semi final win, narrowly defeating Coopers' Company and Coborn from Essex and Percival said: “We know The Leys will be a tough proposition at Twickenham.

“Watching them play before us in the semi final at Broadstreet, we could see they are well-drilled and strong and there is no doubt they will be hard to beat.

“I don't really believe in all that underdog stuff. You just play what's in front of you. We will give The Leys' team maximum respect and we know very well that we will have to be on our mettle to beat them.

“The school has been involved in sevens finals at Twickenham but this is a different level. We are taking eight coaches down and there is, as you'd expect, quite a lot of interest.

“We have a couple of lads carrying knocks but nothing serious, so I'm hoping we'll do well on the day. This team has been improving all season, they've been like sponges soaking up every word and experience.”


27.3.09

Dave Heybrock, director of rugby at Leicestershire's John Cleveland College, faces an anxious wait to discover whether he will be able to field his expected side in the Daily Mail RBS Schools U18 Vase final against Hampton School at Twickenham this Wednesday (2pm).

Prop Ryan Bower and wing Manu Tuilagi are on duty for England's U18 Five Nations Festival side against Japan High Schools at Exeter and seven more of their team-mates are playing for Hinckley in their National Colts Cup semi-final at Middlesbrough.

“We have got our fingers crossed that they all come through without any problems,” Heybrock said. “It's a busy period but our preparations have gone well so far and we just hope that everyone comes through the weekend OK.”

Bower and Tuilagi, the youngest of five brothers who have played for Leicester Tigers, were unavailable for JCC's semi-final win over Giggleswick School at Broadstreet two weeks ago.

JCC could not secure their release for the game but they will both be available for the trip to Twickenham.

“We've secured their release from Leicester and from England so they are available to us for the final,” Heybrock said.

The final will be the third game in a week that Tuilagi and Bower have been involved in as they also played for Leicester Academy in their win over Japan HS at Plymouth last Wednesday.

Around half of the JCC squad have already played in a Twickenham final having been beaten by Langley Park Boys School from Kent in the U15 Vase three years ago. Heybrock believes that the will be wiser for that experience.

“I think having played at Twickenham before has to be an advantage from a psychological point of view,” he said.

“You know what the atmosphere is like and, knowing what to expect, you should be more focused on the game. I think one or two of the players lost their focus when we were there last time and they were 15 year-olds.”

Heybrock kept an eye on Hampton's semi-final win over King Edward VI, Stratford while he was preparing his players for the Giggleswick match and believes that the final will be between two evenly-matched sides.

“My first impression is that they are quite similar to us in many ways,” he said. “They have a big set of forwards but also some good backs who are run by a good fly-half.

“I think that we should have a better pack and defence than Stratford had. They missed some tackles at the start of the second half and conceded some soft tries. But I am quietly confident and it should be a good final.”

Hampton, who have only a short trip to make to Twickenham include flanker Callum Burke, a member of the Ireland U18 Clubs side, and Scotland U17 lock Fraser Wem in their squad.

The fly-half who impressed Heybrock is Zafar Ansari, who has already played cricket for England U17s and Surrey's second XI.

Hampton's sporting reputation has been based on rowing and football but coach Zoran Higgins hopes that their success in reaching the Daily Mail RBS Vase final will give rugby in the school an important boost.

“I am in my fourth year at Hampton and the performance in the semi-final was the best I have seen,” he said.

“In fact it was the best rugby performance I've been involved with, which includes playing in the first team at Richmond, Staines, Bath University and Bath U19s.

“We had talked a lot about putting the match into perspective. It was Comic Relief the day before and the boys had watched pictures of children starving in Africa, and they realised this was just a game of rugby. An important game, but just a game. They went out and enjoyed themselves and it worked.”

Higgins did not have much time to celebrate the semi-final win as he was back in the stand at Broadstreet to watch the JCC v Giggleswick match and to make notes on their final opponents.

“John Cleveland have a massive physical presence, with four players contracted to the Leicester Academy, and what's concerning me is that they also have two players to come back from England's U18 Five Nations squad,” he said.

“We will be up against it, and winning the collisions will be a key thing for us and very difficult to do.

“We need to be brave and fast up on the tackle line but that is easier said than done. We have got really good skilful players and we don't want to get annihiliated in the physical contest. There is no point in setting unrealistic goals. We aim to remain competitive well into the second half and see what happens.

“The main thing is the team have worked very hard to get to Twickenham. The cup run has been good for the school.

“People outside Hampton knew us for football and rowing but rugby has been played here for 50 or 60 years and always popular, and reaching the final has increased our exposure.

“Having three sports at the school, with a free choice for the boys, means each of the teams is perhaps a little closer knit than normal. They worked hard for each other and that's what creates a good team spirit.”


27.3.09

The final of the Daily Mail RBS U18 Cup will be an all South West affair on Wednesday April 1 when St Peter's, Gloucester and Truro College contest the coveted schools' crown at Twickenham, kick-off 3.30pm.

St. Peter's, Gloucester are no strangers to Twickenham, winning the title in 2005 when they edged a narrow 25-23 victory against Durham School, but for Truro College it's a very different matter.

Before this season the Cornish school's best record in the U18 Cup was reaching the last 16.

“There's a real buzz going around the college at the moment,” said Truro's Steve Larkins, who coaches the side alongside Ricky Pellow and Will Davis. “Everyone in the school is really excited and can't wait for next Wednesday.

“We are hoping to get a lot of support at the game. We have nearly sold out of all our ticket allocation, and there are several buses Twickenham bound.”

St Peter's booked their place in the final after winning the battle of the namesakes with a pulsating 27-25 victory over St. Peter's, York, while Truro College had to hold their nerve to clinch a 19-19 victory against John Fisher School, with the game going down to penalty kicks. Truro edged the win with five successful kicks to John Fisher's three.

“It was a really tough semi-final for us,” added Larkins. “It was mentally tough on the players as none of them had ever experienced such an important game going down to penalty kicks before.

“For 17 and 18 year-olds to cope with that sort of pressure is a testament to them and I think gives us a lot of confidence going into this final.

“There's no doubt that this is going to be a close final. Ever since the quarterfinal stages of the cup, all the games have been going down to the wire and I can't see it being any different next week. I think the win will be there for the side that can cope with the pressure on the day.

“St. Peter's may have been there before, but that was a couple of years back now and none of this year's players were involved.

“The coaching staff also have the Twickenham experience under their belts but so do we in the form of club and county rugby. I wouldn't say St. Peter's have any real advantage, it's going to be down to whoever can perform on the day.”

Also in action are The Leys and King's Macclesfield in the Daily Mail RBS Schools U15 Vase on Wednesday (11am), Judd school versus Millfield in the Daily Mail RBS Schools U15 Cup (12.30pm) and Hampton School against John Cleveland College in the Daily Mail RBS Schools U18 Vase (2pm).


26.3.09

The Judd School from Kent will have an excited following of more than 800 students, staff and old boys to cheer them on in the Daily Mail RBS U15 Cup final against Millfield School at Twickenham next Wednesday April 1.

The Judd had never qualified for the quarter-finals of the competition before so it is understandable that their spectacular run all the way to the showpiece occasion at the home of England Rugby has captured the imagination of every one at the Tonbridge school.

“There has been a fantastic reaction throughout the school,” said coach David Joseph. “We do not break up until next Friday and the head has organised it that anyone who wants to go to Twickenham can go.

“As a result there are 800 students and staff going on coaches from Kent, and on top of that there are families of the players, and I have heard from all sorts of old boys who plan to meet up on the day.

“I have been at the school seven years and this cup final has been a rallying point for old friends to get in touch.”

Judd scored four tries in the last 10 minutes of their Daily Mail RBS U15 Cup semi-final at Broadstreet to defeat Northampton School for Boys 34-7. Millfield from Somerset won a tense battle with Barnard Castle 15-3.

Having won away to Wellington College in the quarter-finals, Judd are ready to take on another famous schools rugby name in Millfield.

“They have a great reputation but we will see who does best on the day,” said Joseph. “Will Grist, our captain, has rightly received some plaudits but we are a team above all else.

“They have all worked very hard and in each match someone different has stepped up at a crucial time.”

Judd are all-rounders, all right, as their sporting pursuits indicate. “We have seven players in the county rugby squad,” said Joseph, “while one of our second rows, George Willis, is in Kent's U15 cricket training squad and we also have six county athletes - everything from hammer and discus to pole vault and 400 metres.”

Millfield are through to the final of the Daily Mail RBS U15 Cup for a second successive season but this year they will be hoping they don't fall at the final hurdle.

The Somerset side lost 22-15 to Wellington College in the Twickenham showdown 12 months ago.

They also had to settle for second best in 2003, when they were defeated by Whiftgift School 24-7, so maybe it's going to a case of third time lucky for them.

“Our target was always to reach the last eight and anything after that was a bonus,” said Trevor Greenhill, master in charge of rugby.

“Our aim is for the boys to enjoy their rugby and the experience and for them to perform to the best of our abilities. Winning the final is not everything to us, but obviously now that we have got this far we can't deny that it's our minds.”


26.3.09

Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium will host the biggest ever Scottish Schools Rugby League tournament on Sunday 3 May as part of engage Super League’s Magic Weekend.

More then 180 children from 14 primary schools across Scotland will be involved in the competition which will be played on pitches adjacent to the main stadium prior to the first engage Super League game on the Sunday.

To mark the launch of the tournament, which aims to encourage those playing Rugby League at school to join their local community club, the engage Super League trophy visited Sunnyside Primary School in East Glasgow.

Mark Senter, the RFL’s Scotland development manager, said: “We’re on the cusp of something big in Scotland with rugby league proving immensely popular in the schools which we visit to deliver coaching sessions.

“The Magic Weekend will only build on this and give our development programme added momentum.

“All the schools involved in the tournament at Murrayfield have been selected due to their geographical locations near a current or proposed new community rugby league club and our aim is to marry up the schools with the local clubs.

“East Glasgow in particular is fast becoming a hotbed of rugby league and the pupils at Sunnyside Primary School, many of whom watch engage Super League on Sky Sports, couldn’t wait to have their pictures taken with the famous trophy.

“If we are to have a Scottish side in the Championship or Super League in future years then the grassroots has to be developing players, and hopefully the legacy of the Magic Weekend will be that more and more children are playing club Rugby League in Scotland. Who knows in the future one of the kids who plays in this tournament could be stars of the future.”

The Magic Weekend on May 2-3 sees all seven games from round 12 of engage Super League taking place at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium in one big carnival-style weekend.

All of the Scottish schools involved in the competition will have squads of 13 players and two teachers.

The tournament will be non-competitive, round robin and games will be played using tag rules with teams of 9 a-side.

Following the climax of the competition all children will receive a certificate for participating and will take part in a parade of Murrayfield Stadium at half-time of one of the engage Super League fixtures.

To build excitement ahead of the Magic Weekend community staff from a number of engage Super League clubs will be visiting the schools involved in the competition to deliver coaching with the idea that each school will be ‘adopted’ by a professional team. The engage Super League trophy will also be touring schools.

Scottish schools participating include Bargedie Primary School, North Lanarkshire, Haghill Primary School, Glasgow, Newton Primary School, South Ayrshire, St Angela’s Primary School, Glasgow, St Catherines Primary School, Glasgow, St Augustines Primary School, Glasgow, Sunnyside Primary School, Glasgow and Tannochside Primary School, North Lanarkshire.

A two-day pass for the Magic Weekend is priced from just £10 for concessions and £25 for adults and supporters can purchase tickets by calling 0871 226 1313 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk.


25.3.09

Cardinal Newman College, from Preston, Beaconsfield High School and Bromsgrove School were crowned U19, U16 and U14 winners at the Sporting Destinations National Schools Netball Championships. (For full reports and pictures see the April edition of School Sport Magazine).


24.3.09

Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School won the Midlands U14 State Schools Rugby Union Cup for the first time with a 10-5 win over Northampton Boys School at Worcester Warriors' Sixways Stadium.

There was little to choose between the sides in an entertaining game that was played at a frenetic pace throughout.

But Bishop's shaded the contest and secured the trophy against the 2003 champions when centre John Pudge crossed from a well-worked move ten minutes from time.

Flanker Guy Bullied opened the scoring for Bishop's after five minutes which rewarded them for a period of early intense pressure that stretched NSB's defence.

But NSB hit back strongly with left wing Frazer Ryan, who impressed with a number of strong runs, galloping clear for an unconverted try.

Bishop's captain and fly-half Elliot Davies and scrum-half Ed Rawcliff brought control to the game and repelled NSB's probing attacks in a competitive second half.

Davies collected the trophy from Eric Blackman, the outgoing president of the England Rugby Football Schools' Union.

Bishop's, whose facilities are used as the Herefordshire centre for the Worcester Warriors' Elite Player Development Group, became the eleventh different school to win the cup which is now in its 13th season.


23.3.09

Edinburgh Academy defeated George Watson’s College to win the Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools U15 Cup 29-21 at Murrayfield while Fettes College edged out Stewart’s Melville College 39-28 in the U18 final. (for full reports and pictures see the April edition of School Sport Magazine)


22.3.09

More than 100 girls from teams across England battled it out for the right to progress to the Carnegie Champion Rugby League Schools Girls Year 11 National Final.

Pre-tournament favourites Castleford High School topped group A but were made to work hard for their success including an 8-8 draw with Wigan school Deanery.

Group B produced some fiery games as the guile of St John Fisher saw them finish top while the tough-tackling Outwood Grange also qualified for the semi finals.

In the first semi final, Deanery overcame Wigan neighbours St John Fisher in a very close game 8–4.

The second semi final was a West Yorkshire derby as Outwood from Wakefield attempted to turn over Castleford High.

However the outstanding Castleford defence thwarted early Outwood pressure and in the end they proved to have too much fire power as they won 12–0.

Castleford High and Deanery, who will be making their debut in a national final, will now contest the showpiece event on Wednesday April 1 at the Gratton Stadium, Odsal, in Bradford.


21.3.09

St Helens College will be looking to secure their third consecutive Carnegie Champion Colleges rugby league title next month after dispatching Calderdale College 30-6 in the semi finals with a clinical second half display.

The young men from Halifax, coached by former Halifax star Damien Gibson, gave as good as they got in the first half restricting Saints to eight points with tries from John Arnold on five minutes and his centre partner Josh Owen, who crashed over twenty minutes later.

Taylor missed both conversions though so at 8–0 at half time Calderdale were very much still in the game.

In the second half, Saints clicked into the sort of form that has seen them sweep all before them for the last two seasons and hit their West Yorkshire opponents with a four try blitz in the space of 15 minutes.

Scrum half Steve Taylor opened the second half scoring after Calderdale handed over possession by conceding a penalty in front of their own posts.

He picked up the ball and instead of spinning it wide to his back line he stepped back inside and darted through the gap to touch down before tagging on the conversion to make it 14–0.

John Arnold recorded his brace on 55 minutes with a carbon copy of his first try before Taylor added his second after more Calderdale errors. Taylor converted his own try to stretch his sides lead to 24–0.

Dave Sutton then got in on the act after great work by hooker Ian Marren and created the opening for Sutton who sprinted clear from 40 metres out. Taylor converted for a 30–0 lead.

Calderdale did manage to record a consolation try when they finally managed to get within scoring range and left hand centre Andrew Binns had too much power for the defence to stop him charging over from short range.

Baker slotted over the touch line conversion before referee Peter Brooke blew the final whistle.


20.3.09

Netball stars of the future are gathering at Oundle School in Northamptonshire this weekend to participate in the Sporting Destinations National Schools Finals.

Fifty-four school teams from across the country will participate in the annual event, which has taken place at various schools nationwide for over 25 years.

Participating teams have competed through regional and county rounds in the lead up to the competition.

England Netball’s competition and events manager Matt Young said: “This will be another fantastic year for this competition.

“The weather is set to hold and give the competing teams good playing conditions. Oundle School is a great venue to bring the event to this year and is renowned for its sporting credentials.”

Oundle School is also well known for its strong netball ethos – its U19 team recently qualified through to the Sporting Destinations National Schools Finals.

“Let’s see if the home advantage will give them the title that is coveted by all schools,” Matt added.

Three age groups will compete for the national title (U19, U16 and U14) with a total of 18 teams in each group.

Beaconsfield High and Central Newcastle are the only teams to compete in all three groups.

The annual event is designed to encourage young people to stay active throughout school, college and university with the aim of encouraging participation in the sport throughout their lives.

Supporters can witness The Sporting Destination National Schools Finals at Oundle School in Northamptonshire on Saturday March 21 between 9.30-16.30 followed by an awards presentation.


19.3.09

Northampton School for Boys will meet the Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School in this year's final of the Midlands Counties U14 State Schools Cup at Worcester Warriors' Sixways Stadium next Tuesday March 24 (2.30pm).

The competition, which kicked off in September, involved 55 state schools from across the Midlands.

NSB reached the final by beating Wootton School from Bedfordshire 41-5 in the semi-finals having disposed of Roade School (47-0), Ashcroft School (walkover) and King Edward's, Lichfield (14-5) in the earlier rounds.

Bishop's Hereford beat local rivals Whitecross 54-24 in the first round, St Mary's 54-0, Evesham 34-0, Old Swinford Hospital 17-10 and De Lisle Catholic Science College 34-0 in the semi-finals.


17.3.09

A host of Scotland’s top young rugby talent are gearing up for the all-Edinburgh Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools Cup finals on the international pitch at Murrayfield tomorrow (kick-off 6pm and 7.30pm) where admission is free.

The 2006 champions Stewart’s Melville College claimed their place in the U18 final with an away win over North Berwick High School before Fettes College completed the finals day derby with a win over last year’s finalists George Watson’s College under the Myreside floodlights.

Stewart’s Melville College captain Stewart Shaw said: “I’m expecting a good atmosphere. A lot of the schools said they’re going to come down and give us their backing so hopefully we’ll get a good crowd down and enjoy the experience.”

Fettes College captain Ross Turner added: “We’re really excited about playing on the main pitch. It’s nice that the hard work’s paid off. We’ve had a tough couple of games to get here and we’re really looking forward to it.”

In the U15 final, Edinburgh Academy will take on city rivals and current holders George Watson’s College, who are targeting a third straight U15 schools cup triumph.

Edinburgh Academy U15 captain Cameron Simpson said: “We’ve got a lot of pace out wide and a good back-row so hopefully we can upset Watson’s three in a row attempt.

“It’s going to be a great game, and a great place to play as well. I watch Edinburgh and Scotland play here all the time so it’s a dream come true.”

George Watson’s College captain Nick Hurn said: “It’s always been my lifetime ambition to play at Murrayfield. This is a big thing for me and now that it’s the third time in a row we’ve been in the final so there’s even more pressure. But I’m putting all that behind me and just going to take it step by step and go for it.

“We’ve been together since we were very young and we know each other like the back of each others’ hands. We have strength and speed and when we play well we’re unstoppable. I’m pretty confident that we’ll do well.”


16.3.09

The final of the Daily Mail RBS U18 Cup Final will be an all South West affair with Gloucester's St. Peter's Catholic High School and Truro College booking their place in the Twickenham showdown on April 1.

But the historic all-state school affair was only made possible after Truro College held their nerve to win a rare, exciting penalty shoot against John Fisher School, from Surrey.

After the semi-final finished 19-19, the game went down to penalty kicks with Truro edging the win with five successful kicks to John Fisher's three.

In the other semi, St Peter's, Gloucester, won the battle of the namesakes with a pulsating 27-25 victory over St Peter's, York.

And while for St Peter's it will be their second Daily Mail U18 Cup final appearance in three years, with their last visit to England rugby's HQ a successful one, Truro College will be making their Twickenham debut, having only ever reached the competition's last 16 previously.

St Peter's, Gloucester, head coach Dave Pointon said: “We are of course pleased with the win, but you don't normally get away with a victory by playing badly, which is what we did in patches today.

“All credit must go to St Peter's York as they threw everything they had at us, and their coaches have clearly done a good job with them. Now we have got the chance of a second cup final appearance at Twickenham and we are delighted with that opportunity.”

St Peter's secured their win with five tries, four of which coming after the break after the Gloucester side were 7-5 down at half-time.

Their first touchdown came courtesy of scrum-half Sam Arnott, with fly-half Michael Wilcox, prop Levi Smith, No. 8 Liam Wilkinson and centre Jack Hayes then crossing.

In the second semi-final of the day, Truro College had initially looked like they would breeze into the final with a comfortable 12-0 lead at half-time after tries from Sam Newman and Herbie Stupple, with Ben Hawke adding one conversion.

John Fisher, however, didn't give up and bounced back immediately after the restart with two good tries, taking the score to 12-12.

With both schools adding another score each, they were tied at 19-19 at full-time, leaving penalty kicks to decide the game.

Truro and John Fisher converted all their penalties in front of the post, but John Fisher struggled went the kicks were moved out-wide, and Truro took advantage kicking two penalties to seal the victory.

Truro's Steve Larkins, who coaches the side alongside Ricky Pellow and Will Davis, said: “This was a very hard way to win a game, and we would have preferred to do it during actual game play. However, the result has gone our way and we are delighted with that.

“This has been a long time coming for the school. We have been taking rugby very seriously at the college for some twelve years now, so after a lot of hard work from the likes of Robin Cowling, Ricky Pellow and Will Davis, we are over the moon to have reached the final.”


15.3.09

Hampton School and John Cleveland College booked trips to Twickenham after they recorded contrasting victories in the Daily Mail RBS Schools U18 Vase semi-finals at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry.

Hampton used their three-quarters to devastating effect to trounce King Edward VI School, Stratford, 52-19 in a fast and furious opener.

JCC from Hinckley relied on a tight forward-dominated game in the second half to end a spirited challenge from first-time semi-finalists Giggleswick School from Yorkshire which sealed a 33-15 win.

Both Hampton and JCC were behind at least once in the first half but they rallied strongly and will now meet in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Finals Day at Twickenham on April 1 (2pm kick-off).

Hampton's win should help to raise the profile of rugby in a school where other sports have tended to dominate.

Though former England sevens international Simon Amor is a product of the school, Hampton is better known for its rowing and football teams.

Zafar Ansari, who played fly-half today, has already played international U17 cricket for England.

“We are a three sport school across two terms - rowing, rugby and football - so in effect it goes from a 1,100 boys schools into a 300-400 size school so our resources are spread really thinly across three sports,” said Zoran Higgins, Hampton's coach.

“Rugby seems like the third sport in the school as we have had rowing internationals and our football team are the defending Independent Schools Football Association champions.

“So I've made it my job to get a rugby culture. I've worked my cotton socks along off with the boys at doing that and this win will help raise our profile.”

Hampton were twice behind in the first 14 minutes after KES's lively centres Charlie Speechley and Freddie Gravestock scored tries, the second of them improved by full-back Adam Ward.

But Hampton were always dangerous on the attack and they had the edge in the set pieces where they unpicked KES's usually-reliable line-out.

Superb support play from Hampton also gave KES little margin for error and missed or half-tackles were severely punished.

Left wing Jack Palmer and centre John-Henry Smith scored the early tries and centre Brook Driver landed the conversion that levelled the scores.

Hampton moved into a 26-12 half-time lead with Driver and open side flanker Callum Burke crossing for further tries, both of which Driver improved.

The loss of Ward with a knock to the head did not help KES and it became something of a procession in the second half as Hampton ran in further tries through right wing Dan Gyandoh, Smith, Driver and replacement number eight Max Ward, two of them converted by Driver and one by full-back Joe Grindle.

KES scored a well-worked try from number eight Rob Young which fly-half Jack Nesbitt improved but coach Roger Jenkins had no complaints about the result.

“They had the edge on us,” he said. “I was disappointed and I felt that a few boys were side-tracked by the whole occasion.

“We made an awful lot of errors that we don't normally make. We missed tackles but the whole thing starts with a contest on the ball and normally we are pretty good at that.

“But we weren't today, our defence was always on the back foot and Hampton ran some good lines.”

John Cleveland College had to overcome the absence of winger Manu Tuilagi and prop Ryan Bower ahead of their semi-final.

Dave Heybrock, JCC's master-in-charge of rugby, thought he had secured the release of the pair, both of whom played for the Leicester Tigers Academy against Leeds Carnegie yesterday.

In the event, neither was released for school duty which forced JCC to reshuffle their squad though they hope that Tuilagi, the youngest of five brothers who have played for Leicester, and Bower will be available to face Hampton in the final.

“In the conversations I have had I have been assured that they will be available for the final,” Heybrock said.

Around half of the JCC side already have experience of a Twickenham final having played in the U15 Vase final defeat by Langley Park Boys School three years ago.

“Some of them were there three years ago but for the others it will be a first time and the experience of a lifetime so it will be a big day for them,” Heybrock said.

Though JCC eased into an 8-0 lead with an early penalty from Midlands U18 centre Joe Glover and a try from skipper and centre Stephen List, which Glover improved, Giggleswick hit back strongly.

Powerful centre George Elliott, who plays rugby union for Leeds Carnegie and rugby league for Leeds Rhinos, scored two superb tries in a four minutes period, the second after full-back and captain Chris Gemmell hit the line at pace.

Though Giggleswick were outmuscled by a bigger JCC pack they continued to spread the ball wide and tried to stretch the Leicestershire school's defence.

But Glover reduced the deficit to a point with a penalty late in the first half and JCC played a tighter game in the second half based around their pack and skilful fly-half Ryan Oakes.

It was Glover who scored the try that regained the lead for JCC when he collected a deft inside pass from Oakes and ghosted over. Oakes was then driven over from close range and Glover again converted.

Gemmell, who captained Giggleswick in the absence of his injured brother Mark, pulled back three points with a penalty but Glover responded in kind and JCC still had time for number eight Matt Nurse to drive over after Gigglewswick were shunted backwards at a scrum.

Defeat was particularly hard on Dave Muckalt, Giggleswick's director of sport, who was in charge of Manchester GS when they were beaten by Campion School in the 2002 Daily Mail Schools U18 Cup semi-final.

“It's the second time I have lost a semi-final and it's not nice,” Muckalt said. “We created four very good chances in the first half and only finished two. We knew that the first ten minutes of the second half were going to be key for us.

“Unfortunately it was obvious that they were just a little bit more up for it. We conceded a couple of big scores in that first ten minutes.

“There was a bit of immaturity and we had a lot of lower sixth boys in the side so hopefully we will learn from that next year.

“But we have had a fantastic cup run, we are a very small school and I am proud as punch of the team. It's just unfortunate for the upper sixth lads that they won't get to finish their school career at Twickenham.”

With around two-thirds of the semi-final side available to Muckalt next year, Giggleswick, who were cheered on by three coach loads of noisy supporters, could be a force to be reckoned with next season.


12.3.09

Stewart’s Melville College will face Fettes College in the U18 final of the Bell Lawrie Scottish School’s Cup – completing an all Edinburgh finals day on the international pitch at Murrayfield on March 18

2006 champions Stewart’s Melville College were the first to claim their place in the final with an away win over North Berwick High School in the afternoon.

A Scott Cook penalty gave Stewart’s Melville the lead after 20 minutes before winger Michael Doneghan crossed the whitewash. Scrum-half Cook added the extras to put them 10-0 up at the interval.

After the break, centre Sean Murchie added the visitors’ second, using his blistering pace to race from his own ten metre line to score, before lock Craig O’Donnell dotted down following a great break and support play from forwards Stuart Shaw and Ben Johnstone.

A Cook conversion followed by a penalty in the closing moments sealed the 25-0 victory.

In the other semi-final Fettes College saw off city rivals George Watson’s College under the Myreside floodlights.

The hosts opened the scoring after just five minutes with a try from back-row Mark Irvine who barged over from inside the five metre line after captain Duncan Finnie made the break. Full-back Jamie Forbes made the conversion.

Twenty-two minutes into the half Fettes replied with two unconverted tries from centre partners Jack Greer (outside) and Stuart Daly (inside) to put the visitors 7-10 up at half time.

With just one minute of the second half played, Daly stretched Fettes’ lead with this second of the match.

Stand-off Kit Gammell found his aim to seal the 7-17 victory and set up the side’s second successive Scottish School city derby.

Kick-off times for the U15 and U18 finals are 6pm and 7.30pm and admission is free.


11.3.09

St Peter's School, from York, will be hoping that they are the St Peters' going forward to Twickenham from this Saturday's Daily Mail RBS U18 Schools Cup semi-finals.

They take on St Peter's of Gloucester in the battle of the namesakes at 11am at Broadstreet RFC in Coventry.

Having beaten a strong side from St Benedict's, Ealing, 14-18 in the last round, St Peter's will be on a high and looking to go one better than their 2005 Twickenham final loss to Exeter College.

They have a strong side based around Yorkshire captain, fly half Luke Bowler and fellow Yorkshire caps and Leeds Academy members, winger Chris McTurk, and full back Robbie Cuthbertson.

Coach Steven Williams said: “We are obviously all very excited about the prospect of getting to the final but at the same time we're are trying to keep them calm and motivated. We are focusing on Saturday as one game and not trying not get carried away thinking about Twickenham.”

“We are a one term rugby school and a lot of our boys play hockey. Fortunately none of them have picked up injuries and we'll be picking from a fully fit squad.

“It's a real testament to the strength of rugby at this school that 14 of the boys have played together since the start, playing for the school at U10 level.”

“Our game is very much based on attacking and all fifteen players are confident with the ball. We have two outstanding wingers and a full back who loves to have the ball in his hands. We are adventurous and we really enjoy our rugby.”

“We're glad to be playing in the first fixture at 11am as I know the lads will be raring to go. The school got to Twickenham three years ago and lost in the final and I lost in the semi-finals with King Edward's, Lytham, ten years ago so we're both hoping to go one better. However, I know that St Peter's, Gloucester are very good and I think we are slight underdogs.”

In the other Daily Mail RBS U18 Cup semi-final, Truro College take on John Fisher in the later kick-off. All the Daily Mail RBS finals take place at Twickenham on Wednesday, April 1.


11.3.09

Giggleswick will be hoping to capitalise on a quarter-final performance which saw them named as February's Team of the Month in the Daily Mail RBS U18 Vase competition.

They beat Caterham 20-10 to book a semi-final place this Sunday against Dean Richard's old school John Cleveland College from Hinckley. The game kicks off at 1pm at Broadstreet RFC, near Coventry.

The Yorkshire school will be able to call on the likes of centre George Elliott, who is already on a dual contract with Leeds Tykes and Rhinos and England U16 full back, Chris Gemmell.

However, Chris' brother Mark, captain of the team, is still carrying an injury from the game against Caterham and is likely to be on the bench.

Giggleswick coach David Muckalt said: “In one respect it's been a little bit difficult to prepare for, as we would normally be in our sevens season now.

“The boys tend to make the most of what's on offer here at Giggleswick, which means a lot of them are also playing hockey or football now.

“So we've been keeping our fingers crossed and luckily, other than Mark being on the bench, we'll be going down to Broadstreet with a fully fit squad.”

“This is the third school side I've coached and I think anyone that's worked with me knows that I favour an open, running style of play.

“I want the kids to enjoy the game and I encourage them to play the ball one through fifteen and I think that's why we are such an adventurous side.”

“It will be a great day on Saturday as this is the furthest the school has been in the competition but we are under no illusions that John Cleveland College will be the favourites.

“They are a very good side but we are aware of their strengths and will do our best to come up with something to counteract them.

“It will be a very physical game but we will play it our way and hope we can find some gaps. We've been working on a few things that we think might test them in areas where they haven't been tested up to now.”

In the other Daily Mail RBS U18 Vase semi-final, King Edward, Stratford upon Avon take on Hampton from Surrey in the early kick-off. All the Daily Mail RBS finals take place at Twickenham on Wednesday, April 1.


10.3.09

Ecclesbourne School, from Derbyshire, left it late to pip fellow state school Teddington and claim the National Girls U16 Hockey Championships for the fifth year in a row – but only on goal difference after a thrilling finals day at St George’s College in Surrey. (For a full report with results and pictures, check out the April edition of School Sport Magazine)


10.3.09

Gloucester's St Peter's Catholic High School have swept aside two big guns in the Daily Mail RBS U18 Cup this season and this Saturday they face another title favourite St Peter's from York in the semi-finals.

The Gloucestershire school knocked out the reigning cup champions Wellington College in the fifth round, and then went on to record an impressive 9-7 win over Worcester Sixth Form College in the quarter-finals.

With just their namesake now standing in their way of a second cup final Twickenham appearance in three years, St Peter's are feeling confident.

“We have taken out two of the biggest sides in the competition, so yes it has certainly put us in a good position to try and get to the final,” said their head coach Dave Pointon.

“But the worse thing is to be complacent. St Peter's are a great rugby school, steeped in history, and they also have a very good history in this competition.”

Indeed the York side do have an illustrious history in the Daily Mail tournament. Just like Gloucester's St Peter's, they have played at England Rugby's HQ before, their last outing being in the final of the U18 Cup in 2005.

Then, however, they had to settle for second best losing a tense final 25-23 to Exeter College.

“This is certainly going to be a massive semi-final,” added Pointon, who has taken the Gloucester school to six Daily Mail Cup semi-finals in the past, and even more quarter-finals.

“I know we are really up for it and I am sure they will be too. We know very little about their side this year, but to be honest we are just concentrating on ourselves.

“Preparations have been going really well and our captain Mike Wilcox is fit again after taking a bang to the head in the quarter-finals.

“He had a run out in the England U18 AER side, who took on Northampton Saints Academy at the weekend, and played very well. All our other lads are fit too so we are in good shape for Saturday.”

The two St Peter's clash on Saturday, kick-off 11am, at Broadstreet Rugby Club in Coventry, before the second semi-final between another South West side Truro College take on John Fisher School at 1pm.

St Peter's, Gloucester, last won the Daily Mail U18 Cup in 2006. The two sides have met once before in a tournament in Ipswich in 2006, with the Gloucester school coming out on top.


10.3.09

John Fisher head coach Matt Gold rates his side as clear underdogs in their Daily Mail RBS U18 Cup semi-final against Truro College this Saturday afternoon.

The tie, at neutral Broadstreet RFC near Coventry, marks John Fisher's first appearance in the last four of the competition after three quarter-finals in their eight years of participation.

And the state school from Purley in Surrey will be cheered on by around 200 supporters paying their own way on chartered buses to the Midlands.

“I have checked out Truro College and they are bound to be strong as they are a Cornish branch of the England South West Rugby Academy,” said Gold, whose side defeated Moulton College, a partner school to the Northampton Saints Academy, in the quarter-finals.

“Anyone on the outside looking in would say quite clearly we are the underdogs but we are looking forward to the match and I feel the first 20 minutes will be a key time for both sides.”

Two tries from driven line-outs by the lock Ryan Keates helped John Fisher to victory over Moulton, and there was a penalty goal by centre Ben Axten-Burrett who now has a busy weekend in store.

Axten-Burrett will be training with the England U16 A squad in Solihull on Friday before he rejoins his school for the semi-final and returns to the national side on Saturday evening.

“I left it up to Ben and his dad to decide what they would like to do and I'm pleased it has worked out like this,” said Gold.

“We have got everyone fit and available and though it is difficult not to treat it as a special day, I have been impressed with how maturely the boys have been talking about it.

“We had a training session with a practice game last weekend and in a huddle at the end they said they wanted to keep training low-key and not to get over-excited. That's good considering 10 or 11 of the starting XV are in the lower sixth.”

Gold expects London Wasps and England wing and John Fisher old boy Paul Sackey to be keeping an ear out for Saturday's result - even though there was a missed chance to meet during the build-up.

“Paul came down to see us a couple of weeks ago but we were training elsewhere that day,” said Gold. “He's a busy man but I would love to get through to the final and invite Paul along to see it.”

All the Daily Mail RBS Schools Cup finals are at Twickenham Stadium on Wednesday April 1 and Hampton School are among the four left fighting for a spot in the U18 Vase.

Hampton will take on King Edward VI from Stratford upon Avon at Broadstreet RFC on Sunday March 15, kick-off 11am.


10.3.09

Girls from across the South West will this week compete for glory in the HSBC Regional Girls Festival for year 7 and U15s at Broad Plain RFC.

The Bristol club will host the event tomorrow in conjunction with the Rugby Football Union, Rugby Football Union for Women and HSBC.

James Farndon, the RFU's Bristol & District Rugby Development Officer, said: “This will be a great opportunity for girls to play against others from across the South West. It promises to be a great experience for all those involved. Broad Plain is a first class facility and the members of the club continue to offer first class hospitality to visitors to the club.”

In the year 7 tournament, schools competing are Castle School (Bristol/Gloucestershire), Bradley Stoke Community School (Bristol/Gloucestershire), Avon Valley School (Dorset & Wilts), Dartmouth College (Devon), Newquay Tretherras School (Cornwall), Liskeard School (Cornwall), Tavistock College (Devon) and Hugh Sexey Middle School (Somerset).

In the U15 competition, Oasis Academy Brigstowe (Bristol/Gloucestershire), a school from Somerset (tbc), Bournemouth School for Girls (Dorset & Wilts), Tavistock College (Devon) and Newquay Tretherras School (Cornwall) will all be in action.

This festival, which is one of many being staged across the country, is supported by HSBC, the principal partner of the British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa in 2009.

This is the first time that a grass roots campaign spans all four home unions, as well as South Africa.

The programme will reach more than 60,000 school children and 3,000 teachers and coaches across 300 youth festivals in the UK and Ireland and form strong cultural links with schools in South Africa.

In England, the HSBC Rugby Festivals will incorporate the existing RFU Emerging Schools programme that comprises more than 150 individual events.

Young players take part in U12, 13 and 14 categories at local, county and regional festivals before a national finals day staged at Staines RFC.

The top teams meet on the pitch at Twickenham, in front of a 40,000 crowd on the day of the annual Army v Navy match in May.


10.3.09

Kirkham Grammar School carried off the Bowring Trophy for the second successive year when they beat Hymers College from Hull after extra time to win the Kukri North of England Schools Invitation Sevens at Birkenhead Park RFC.

The 21st anniversary of the competition enjoyed a thrilling climax, with the finalists level at 17-17 at the end of normal time and the holders retaining the trophy with a sudden-death score to win 22-17.

“We were fortunate with the weather. We had an excellent entry and some superb, exciting rugby,” said Graeme Marrs, one of the prime movers of the competition since its inception.

“The speed and energy of the finalists was quite breathtaking and all the teams involved deserved applause for the calibre of the rugby they produced.

“We were hoping our 21st birthday would provide a fitting occasion and we were not disappointed.”

RFU senior vice-president John Owen presented the Bowring Trophy to Kirkham and Colonel John Williams, from the Army, presented the Boodle & Dunthorne Salver to Plate winners Barnard Castle.

Graeme Marrs, who received a Services to Schools Rugby Award from RFSU President Eric Blackman at a dinner on the eve of the tournament, presented the Gerald L Finch player of the tournament trophy to Tommy Banks of Kirkham.


9.3.09

Tomorrow sees the semi-finals of the Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools U18 Cup.

In the first tie, North Berwick High School are at home to Stewart’s-Melville College with a 2pm kick-off.

The second semi-final sees George Watson’s College welcome Fettes College to their Myreside ground with a 7pm kick-off.


9.3.09

John Cleveland College from Hinckley are attempting to secure the release of two of their key players for their Daily Mail RBS Schools U18 Vase semi-final against Giggleswick School at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry this Sunday March 15 (1pm).

Prop Ryan Bower and wing Manu Tuilagi, the youngest of the rugby-playing brothers, are both members of the Leicester Tigers academy and are due to play against Leeds Carnegie on Saturday.

But Dave Heybrock, JCC's coach, is in negotiations which he hopes will ensure that the pair are also available for school duty the following day.

JCC will definitely be without influential lock Hugh Marsden, who suffered a knee injury two weeks ago, but Joe Glover, the Midlands U18 and Leicestershire scrum-half who is used as a utility back by his school, will be available.

JCC have plenty of experience of reaching the latter stages of Daily Mail RBS competitions having won the U15 Cup in 2004 and the now defunct U18 Plate in 1996.

They were also runners-up in the U15 Vase three years ago and around ten of that side will be in action on Sunday.

“Having the experience of playing in finals and semi-finals does help,” Heybrock said. “Most of this side played at Twickenham in the Vase final three years ago, so they have come through a semi-final before.”

Heybrock would have preferred JCC to have been involved in the Daily Mail RBS Cup semi-finals at Broadstreet this Saturday, but a surprise defeat by county rivals Leicester GS meant they had to settle for a place in the Vase.

“That was a bit of blip for us although Leicester Grammar have had a pretty good season,” Heybrock said. “When we played them recently in the county cup we beat them fairly comfortably.

“I have to say that we wanted to be in the cup competition and to have got through to the quarter-finals. But once you are in the Vase the only consolation is to try to get to Twickenham and hopefully win it.”

Though Broadstreet is within easy travelling distance of Hinckley, JCC will make the most of the weekend by staying in a Coventry hotel the night before their semi-final.

King Edward VI School, Stratford have a similar short journey to make to Broadstreet, which is just 30 minutes' drive away, but they will also be staying overnight ahead of Sunday's Vase semi-final against Hampton School (11am).

King Edward's hope that having the game on their doorstep will mean they will have plenty of supporters at Broadstreet though a victory could cause problems for Roger Jenkins, their long-serving head coach.

“I've told the players that if they really want to cause problems for me, they should go out and win the semi-final,” Jenkins said.

“The final is on April 1 but I am due to fly to Vancouver on March 31 with our U15 side for their tour to Canada.”

If King Edward's do beat Hampton, Jenkins, who now works on a part-time basis following his retirement last year, and Ben Howard will remain with the senior side and delay their flight to Canada for two days.

That is in the future. First King Edward's have to overcome Hampton and that means ensuring that they turn up for the semi-final in the right mood.

“We have won our last 12 or 13 games or so but we had some disappointing performances earlier in the season when we were not sure which side was going to turn up,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins was in charge of the King Edward's side that won the inaugural Daily Mail U18 Schools Cup back in 1991 but it is more than ten years since they last reached a national semi-final.

Of the side that triumphed 18 years ago, only prop Rowan Fuller, who went on to play for Newcastle, Moseley and Henley, enjoyed a long career in senior rugby.

The current first team, described by Jenkins as “a competent all-round side,” includes number eight Rob Young and fly-half Jake Nesbitt who are both involved in Oxfordshire's U18 development side.


8.3.09

Repton School’s U18 girls’ hockey squad broke a long-standing national record by winning the National Schools Championship for a fifth year in succession.

In the girls U14 championships, the title headed north after Wakefield Girls High School pipped Ipswich School for the title.

(For a full report with results and pictures, check out the April edition of School Sport Magazine)


6.3.09

This season’s National Schools Girls Hockey Finals will take place this weekend at St George’s College in Surrey.

The championships, sponsored by Man Group plc, will focus on Derbyshire schools Repton and Ecclesbourne’s bids to defend their U18 and U16 titles respectfully and to win the prestigious titles for an incredible sixth year in a row.

St George’s College are the only team to have previously won the U14 competition and will be sure to have a vocal crowd behind them on home soil as they take on Clifton College and Ipswich, Oakham and Wakefield schools on Sunday in a round-robin format.

Sunday will also see the U18 finals where Repton will take on Kingston Grammar, Queenswood, Cheadle Hulme and Millfield schools.

The U16 championships will take place on Monday where Ecclesbourne will defend their title against Cheltenham College, Wakefield, Ipswich and Teddington schools.


6.3.09

The first quarter finalists in the National Schools Boys Hockey Finals have been decided following the staging of the opening regional championships.

Whitgift School qualified from the south-west regional U16 final in Hampshire, beating Wellington College, Radley and Portsmouth Grammar School.

Portsmouth Grammar School finished runners-up but were eliminated from the competition as only the runners-up from the regions of last year’s national winners (Ipswich) and runners-up (Bromsgrove) join the six regional winners in the last eight.

In the west, Cheltenham College qualified in the U16 competition while Magdalen College School, from Oxford, won the U14 south-west title.


5.3.09

Edinburgh Academy will take on George Watson’s College in the U15 final of the Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools Cup on the international pitch at Murrayfield Stadium on Wednesday 18 March (kick-off 6pm).

The Academy made it to the final in style with a ten try 67-0 victory over North Berwick at Newfield in which outside-centre Jamie Farndale ran in four tries.

Wing Freddie Smith bagged a brace while Alex Glashan, Chris Thomson and Fergus Gregory all dotted down in the rout.

Loose forwards Thomson, Chris Dean and Cameron Simpson linked well with the backs throughout to great effect with lots of well worked offloading play.

In the other semi-final George Watson’s College were given a much tougher test as they saw off Glasgow outfit Hutcheson’s Grammar School.

Watson’s Rhys Jack was the first on the scoresheet following a series of pick and drives just inside the five metre line, the young lock crashed over to score the unconverted try.

Chris MacBeth then added the Edinburgh side’s second with a scything run to score underneath the posts which front-rower Aiden Donnelly converted.

After the break, Hutcheson’s were thrown a life line when centre Matthew Henson intercepte bnd a loose pass to dot down under the posts before a brace of unconverted tries from lively Watson’s scrum-half, Ramsay Young, sealed the 22-7 victory, setting up the local derby at the home of Scottish rugby.


5.3.09

Lauren Potter, a year 11 Sheffield High School pupil, has been selected to captain the England U17 netball team in the U17 Netball European Championships in Gibraltar from Friday March 6 to Sunday 8 March 8.

Lauren said: “When I found out I was selected, I was obviously elated but it was difficult to know how to react, as those who had not been so lucky were devastated.

“However, once I was alone with the 11 other successful girls and our coach, I began to appreciate the enormity of my achievement and was very proud to think that I would be playing for my country.”

Lauren has also been asked to trial for the England U19s this Easter at Loughborough University.


4.3.09

Sheffield Hallam University sports students are organizing a hockey event for year 4 and 5 pupils on Tuesday March 17 at the city’s Concord Leisure Centre to be attended by several primary schools.


4.3.09

Investment manager Bell Lawrie, due to re-brand as Brewin Dolphin next month, is to extend its sponsorship of the Scottish Schools Rugby Union Cup to include a girls’ competition.

The new three-year deal will see the partnership with Scottish Rugby extended until 2012 and will adopt the new title the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup.

Colin Thomson, head of community rugby at Scottish Rugby said: “We are delighted with the commitment shown by Bell Lawrie to schools rugby which I believe stands as testimony to the progress that has been made by all partners involved in the growth and development of schools rugby across Scotland.

“All children in Scotland attend school and we are delighted that year on year more youngsters are getting the opportunity to play rugby for their schools in Bell Lawrie competitions.

“We are particularly delighted to announce today that moving forward the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup sponsorship will also support the introduction of girls’ competitions demonstrating the progress that has also been made in the growth and development of girls’ rugby over the last couple of seasons.”

Bell Lawrie has sponsored the Scottish Schools Cup for the past eight years, during which time the competition has witnessed unprecedented growth, with an increase from 56 teams in 2001 to 244 taking part this season.

In 2004, the U15 competition was added to run alongside the existing U18 tournament and now around 5500 Scottish school pupils take part every year.

Scotland captain Mike Blair, a former Schools Cup player for Edinburgh Academy, said: “I think it is great news that, through Scottish Rugby’s development work and the support of private sponsors, more kids are getting the opportunity to experience the camaraderie that school rugby can bring.

“Schools rugby introduces thousands of children to rugby in a fun and enjoyable way and the Schools’ Cup is the focus that drives much interest with youngsters. This is the hook that sees many continue their participation into adult life.”

Scotland Women’s captain Lynne Reid, added: “Scottish Rugby and the SWRU are moving towards integration in 2009 and the inclusion of competitions for schoolgirls within the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Cup sponsorship is a great example of rugby being developed and supported in an integrated fashion and confirmation that girls like rugby too.

“This is fantastic news for young female rugby players across the country and the future of the women’s game as a whole.”

Marc Wilkinson, director at Bell Lawrie, said: “We have supported schools rugby for some time now and Bell Lawrie has become synonymous with schools rugby in Scotland. We are committed to supporting grassroots rugby in Scotland for the long term and hope that the competition continues to thrive under our new name.”


3.3.09

Sheffield High School have bounced their way to the national trampolining finals in three team and two individual competition categories.

Both the SHS U19 open and closed trampolining teams achieved first places while the U15 team finished second in the north zone championships.

All three teams and two individual finalists, Morgan Sykes and Thalia Caddy, have now qualified for the National Schools Trampoline Championships on March 8 in Birmingham.

Two gymnastic teams also competed at the regional group, floor and vault championships with the U19 team finishing second – just missing out on the national finals - and the U13 team finishing third.


2.3.09

The draw for the national rounds of this year’s English Schools’ Cricket Association’s premier competitions has been made.

Details of the David English/Bunbury U13 Cup and the Lord’s Taverners Colts U15 Trophy can be seen on the cricket section of our website results pages.


2.3.09

A fantastic day of rugby at Broadstreet RFC in Coventry saw the finalists decided in the Daily Mail RBS U15 Schools Cup.

It will be Millfield from Somerset and Judd School from Kent who will meet in the final at Twickenham after both won tough semi-finals over spirited opponents.

In the first game, a battle of the state school, an adventurous Northampton School for Boys side were eventually seen off by Judd School, who scored four tries in an amazing last ten minutes.

The first half was incredibly tight and Judd led by just a single penalty at the break. In the first real action of the game the Kent school held their rivals up over the line and drew strength from that resolute defence.

They nearly scored when winger Josh Livett made a break inside and put flanker Henry Croft through who just failed to score. He did win a penalty though which Ryan Redman just failed to kick.

However Redman was soon replacing his tee again and he duly scored a penalty in added time, which saw Judd School take a narrow 3-0 lead into half-time.

Judd came out of the break with all guns blazing and were just denied a try in the first minute of the half but soon made the pressure count.

A penalty for a high tackle which could itself have been a penalty try led to Livett going over and Redman converting.

But Northampton were always ready to run and came straight back at the Kentish lads. Inside centre Jordan Husband put in Tom Collins for a great try and Jack Chandler-Thomas converted to make the score 10-7 to Judd with just ten minutes to play.

Northampton then put everything into trying to force a winner, a laudable tactic but one which led to a series of costly mistakes.

Judd's Ryan Redman was the first to exploit an error when he ran in a loose ball and converted his own try to make it 17-7.

Tom Collins then made a 40 yard break for Northampton but lost the ball too far up the field for his side to defend, enabling Judd's Livett to go over for his second of the game.

Straight from the resulting kick-off Judd put the ball through five pairs of hands for the try of the game by Matt Barnes.

They had now scored three tries in just four minutes and were cruising to victory.

Northampton to their credit, were still prepared to give it go but when they dropped another ball in attack, Barnes picked it up to score his second, and the games’s last, try which Redman duly converted.

In the second game, Millfield's slightly better backs saw them beat Barnard Castle from County Durham 15-3 in a game dominated by two strong packs.

The first half was dominated by that strong forward play and led largely to Barnard Castle kicking the ball away too much, a tactic that was ultimately to prove the main contributing factor in their downfall.

With ten minutes of the half remaining, Millfield's Tom Bellak created a ruck from a 40 metre break which allowed prop Jeremy Ward to score near the touchline.

Barnard Castle responded quickly however and forced an easy 20 metre penalty which Bruce Clegg duly kicked to make the score 5-3 to Millfield at half-time.

In the second-half, Barnard Castle had a lot of pressure but Millfield showed great composure and consistently managed to clear their lines.

They were also always prepared to run when given the chance and it was no surprise when Harry James ran in the second try to give them a 10-3 lead.

The Durham boys kept looking for a way through and both Finlay Tait and Christian Pollack would have scored but for feet in touch.

But it wasn't to be their day and the game ended with another try for Millfield. Pressure from the Somerset forwards led to a hurried clearance by Clegg, which was caught by replacement winger Matt Molloy who fed Tom Bellak.

The inside centre scored from twenty yards out and booked another trip for Millfield to Twickenham.


1.3.09

Mark Harbord, co-coach of The King's School in Macclesfield, wore a smile which suggested his long wait for a final at Twickenham Stadium had been worth it, as his team edged out Coopers' Company & Coborn 7-5 in the Daily Mail RBS U15 Vase semi-final.

Harbord, who has been at King's Macc for 32 years, said: “We reached a semi-final about 20 years ago but this is the first time through to a final.

“The team rode its luck a little today but they tackled hard for each other and after winning only one of their first six matches this season they have been improving all the time.”

The match began with a bout of punting from each side. Then came a steady 10 minutes or so of King's pressure, camped in the Coopers 22, before wing Keiron Wesley cut through a gap for a try in the 16th minute converted for King's by fly half Alex Thomson.

The sturdily built Thomson and his captain and outside centre Andrew Hodgson were prominent throughout for King's, who held out three separate assaults in the left corner by Coopers as the first half continued.

King's thought they had increased their lead 10 minutes into the second half when Hodgson took a nice line against the grain from Thomson's pass and crossed the goal line but he was called back for a forward pass.

Coopers' Company & Coborn's captain and No.8 Matthew Wellsman did his level best to carry the fight as did wing Samuel Lane, who halted a run by opposite number Alex Billing at one end, then was subject to a fine try-saving tackle himself at the other, made by the King's full back Matthew Rogerson.

“That may even have been a match-saving tackle,” said Harbord.

It came a few minutes after Wellsman had scored Coopers' try midway through the second half.

Fly half Barnabous Moul made three sidesteps as he danced through King's ranks, and after a tapped penalty the Coopers forwards were held up on the line. From the resulting scrum Wellsman picked up and drove to the open side to score.

Centre Joe Bilton's attempted conversion to tie the scores hit the right-hand post and - after Rogerson's stunning tackle - one too many handling errors by Coopers' combined with relieving kicks downfield by Thomson kept King's in front to the end.

“We started the season poorly and didn't have a good one last year but the boys have worked fantastically hard,” said Harbord.

“Our fly half pulls the strings and Hodgson the captain gives us a bit of cut at outside centre. It could have gone either way but we will look forward to our day out at Twickenham.”


1.3.09

Sterling work in defence and an ability to take their chances sent The Leys from Cambridge through to Daily Mail RBS U15 Vase final at Twickenham Stadium in their first season in the Schools Cup competition after a 29-8 victory over King’s College Shchool, Wimbledon.

The Leys found themselves in the Vase after they were defeated in the third round of the U15 Cup by Oundle - and they earned their place at the showpiece finals day on April 1 with four tries and superb containing tactics when semi-final opponents KCS Wimbledon had plenty of possession.

Fly half Will Hooley ran his back line well for The Leys, either beating his man first-up, or kicking intelligently to the corners.

KCS by contrast handled along the line more, with full back Callum McQuator prominent, but they were unable to make many telling breaks and were kept in check by determined Leys tackling.

The Leys led 10-0 with a penalty goal by Hooley followed by a neatly-worked try when Hooley made a dummy scissors and sent centre Will McGahey through to the posts. Hooley converted.

KCS No.8 Adam Telling kicked a penalty to make it 10-3 but The Leys had their second try just before half-time when a 20 metre catch-and-drive ended with No.8 Oliver Houghton scoring.

A fine run by KCS wing Eduardo Olavarria to beat three or four tackles gave his side hope early in the second half.

But The Leys again scrambled effectively. KCS stole a couple of line-outs but they conceded too many turnovers, as coach Marcus Blackburn acknowledged afterwards.

“The Daily Mail RBS Cups are all about the team which plays to its best and we were so far from our best today,” said Blackburn, in charge of his last cup match before taking up a job in Sydney, Australia.

The Leys added to their lead when McGahey made a strong break from his 22, down the right wing, and booted ahead.

As KCS backtracked, Leys' Seb Howarth - on as a replacement for wing Will Jones - hacked on and scored at the posts, for Hooley, who like McGahey is attached to the Northampton Saints Academy, to convert.

Centre Sam Hunt broke through to pave the way for a KCS try by hooker Jamie Deans with four minutes of normal time remaining.

But The Leys sealed their win when good handling by the backs took them into the KCS 22 and, following a line-out, the tight-head prop Fraser Heathcote - who had carried the ball impressively throughout - reached over the line. Hooley's third conversion made the final scoreline 29-8.

“We entered the competition for the first time because we had an unusually strong year group who had done very well as U14s,” said The Leys' coach Alex Welby, who guided Wellington College to a Daily Mail Cup final in 1994.

“Will Hooley played well at fly half, we always give him a menu of options to choose from but he has the responsibility to pick the right one.

“We were happy with our defence too. The defensive drills drift down from the professional ranks and Liam Copley, our director of sport, who recently came back to us from Welbeck College, has brought a lot of expertise in that area.”


28.2.09

Young pupils at St Michael’s RC Primary School in Newcastle have benefited from the leadership skills of their peers for out-of-school sports activities.

The Newcastle School Sport Partnership (NSSP) was aware that younger children in the city often fall through the net after school as essential funding and resources are frequently directed elsewhere.

Now year 5 students at St Michael’s have trained to become young leaders and used their new communication and organisational skills to start an out-of-hours games club for KS1 pupils.

Teacher Jennifer Herbert explained: “The year 5 students are now in year 6 and 14 of them have stuck with the project, volunteering their own time and showing great dedication and motivation, turning up regularly each week.

“The games club has become a huge and continuing success, largely due to the enthusiasm of the KS1 and KS2 children and mutual cooperation.”

Pupil Josh Dixon said: “I enjoy teaching the young ones how to play games. I feel like I am helping them to enjoy sport. I like sport and I want them to enjoy sport as well.

And Michael Kelly, from year 1, added: “I like the after school club. I like playing the games.
I think it’s better when the year 6 children help us because they teach us the games. My favourite game is called Sharks.”

Joyce Matthews, partnership development manager for the NSSP, hailed it as another success story for the city.

She said: “It’s a win-win situation. The year 6 students have this special opportunity to hone their leadership skills and the children are more active as a direct result.

“St Michael’s is to be applauded for having the vision to encourage this project and it is our hope that more such Games Clubs spring up for the youngest city pupils as a result.”


27.2.09

The prep schools' National Schools Rugby Tournament (NSRT) will be held at Epsom College for the eighth time this Sunday.

More than one thousand players aged nine to 11 braved bitterly cold weather conditions recently in the London and South East regional qualifying round at Epsom when, despite the ever present threat of snow, spectators were treated to a high class exhibition of running rugby from prep school teams throughout the region.

Among the local schools to qualify for the finals were Cumnor House (U9 and U11), Feltonfleet (U9), Chinthurst (U11), Danes Hill (U11) and Shrewsbury House (U9, U10 and U11).

They will be joined at the finals by qualifiers from regional rounds in the south west, the midlands and the north, and Andrew Scoular, community rugby director at the RFU, will be in attendance.

Also there will be London Wasps' former France international Serge Betsen, who will be signing autographs and presenting the trophies at the finals, which will include an U8 tag competition for the third time and an extended U13 tournament. The U11 event will be at the nearby Tadworth Cricket Club.

Now in its 14th year overall, the NSRT is a top event in the prep schools' rugby calendar, with 170 teams from more than 80 schools entering this season.

Many of the youngsters who have participated have gone forward to play rugby for England, Wales and Scotland at U16, U18, U19 and U20 levels.

“We are delighted to be hosting the finals of the NSRT again,” said Epsom College headmaster Stephen Borthwick.

“Not only does it go a long way towards supporting grass roots rugby in this country, but it also lays good foundations for team spirit and the pursuit of sporting excellence.”


27.2.09

One of the oldest school seven-a-side rugby tournaments in the country celebrates its diamond anniversary.

Sixty years ago in 1949, Windsor Rugby Club ran its first school sevens competition in the Home Park, Windsor and the event has been run every year since, with the exception of 1953, making this year's tournament the 60th.

Current holders Wellington College, who are also the most successful team over the 60 year period with 11 wins, will be pitting their skills against some very strong opposition including Hampton School, Radley College, Tiffin School and The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe.

Local interest centres on Windsor Boys' School and Eton College. This year's tournament has attracted 21 entrants, the highest number for 12 years.

The event starts at 10.30am. The Plate final is at 4.25pm and the final of the main event at 4.50pm.

The winners of the main event will be presented with the Ken Morley Memorial Trophy in memory of the coach who inspired so many young rugby players, both at Windsor Rugby Club and at Windsor Boys' School. Presentations will be made shortly after 5.00pm.


26.2.09

Sports teacher David Aspinall was yesterday reunited with the England rugby star he taught as a young boy more than 20 years ago.

David was brought together with Jason Robinson, the person he first taught at the city’s Cross Flatts Park Middle School, at Leeds Corinthians RUFC

As an HSBC Lions ambassador, Robinson is spearheading the HSBC Rugby Festivals – the world’s largest schools rugby programme.

And yesterday his thirst to inspire the next generation of emerging rugby players saw Robinson return to his own roots when he attended the festival at Leeds RUFC.

Having spotted a talent in the young Jason Robinson, David watched his career flourish in recent years including winning the Rugby World Cup with England in 2003, and earning selection for two British and Irish Lions Tours.

He recalled: “Jason was a fantastic youngster with a natural talent with the ball. I have always enjoyed coaching rugby and it was a pleasure teaching Jason.

“I have enjoyed seeing his success on and off the pitch and am incredibly proud to see what he has achieved since he took up rugby at Cross Flatts Park Middle.”

Robinson grew up in Leeds and first took up the game of rugby when he attended Cross Flatts.

Reflecting on his childhood rugby, he said: “I went to a school where rugby wasn’t that popular. We didn’t have facilities or much equipment but I was inspired to play the sport whilst at school and really enjoyed it.

“First and foremost, it is about enjoying the sport and I am hopeful that through the HSBC Rugby Festivals, we can get even more children playing and enjoying the game of rugby. Who knows, perhaps we can even uncover a few future Lions in the process.”

It may be over a year since Jason Robinson retired from professional rugby, but the 34 year old Rugby World Cup winner is still very much involved with the sport he loves.

For Robinson, it was a pleasure to be reunited with his old teacher after so many years. Robinson said: “I still remember playing rugby and being coached by David Aspinall.

“He was certainly a hard task master but certainly ignited my enthusiasm for the game. Hopefully by my involvement in the HSBC Rugby Festivals, I can play a similar role for many young players both in Leeds and up and down the country.

“They will hopefully benefit from being involved in today’s festival and carry on enjoying their rugby for many years to come.”

As principal partner of the British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa this summer, two-time British Lion, and HSBC ambassador Jason Robinson is coaching children across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales with the emphasis on emerging rugby schools.

Eleven schools from across Leeds were involved in the HSBC Rugby Festival yesterday and benefitted from coaching with Robinson, as well as coaches from the RFU.

The festival was staged in partnership with the RFU as part of HSBC’s commitment to developing rugby through their sponsorship of the British & Irish Lions.

Giles Morgan, group head of sponsorship of HSBC Holdings plc, said: “Youth, education and community are at the very centre of HSBC’s association with the Lions and we are extremely proud to be involved with such a major grass roots programme that will hopefully leave a legacy in the UK and Ireland, as well as in South Africa for many years to come.

“In addition to over 300 festivals which are being staged in the four home nations, HSBC is twinning schools in the UK and Ireland with schools in South Africa.

“HSBC is working with IRB SOS Kit Aid to collect unused rugby kit over here to deliver to emerging rugby schools in South Africa and a coach education programme will also be introduced in South Africa to enable even more children to be able to learn and play rugby in the future.”

At the same time as Robinson inspired the young rugby players in Leeds, HSBC rugby festivals were also taking place with more than 100 children in both Scotland (Glasgow) and Wales (Llanelli).

Robinson’s fellow HSBC ambassador Gavin Hastings passed on his knowledge in Scotland, representing the ethos of HSBC’s grass roots initiative, the first time such a programme has spanned all four home unions.

To find out more about the HSBC Rugby Festivals, visit www.lionsrugby.com


26.2.09

Millfield School remain on track to book a second consecutive cup final place in the Daily Mail RBS U15 Cup.

The Somerset school, who lost 15-22 in the final to Wellington College last year, will however have to overcome an exhausting week of rugby if they are to keep their Twickenham dream alive.

Millfield wrapped up their Daily Mail quarter-final clash against Bedford School on Monday with a 24-5 victory.

Yesterday they played in a school league fixture and then on Saturday they travel to Broadstreet RFC for the Daily Mail RBS Cup semi-finals to face Barnard Castle School (kick-off 1pm).

“Yes, it's a busy week of rugby for us,” said head of rugby Trevor Greenhill. “We are rotating the squad around a lot, but it will be challenging for the boys.

“Having said that, these are young lads who can recover quickly and really, you don't need much more motivation than a chance to play a cup final at Twickenham. All the boys are really excited about the semi-finals, and hopefully going that one step further.”

Greenhill's side booked their place in the final four with a tight clash against former cup winners Bedford.

“The score-line was a little flattering really,” he added. “We got a try early on but we were drawn at 7-5 for a long time. We had a lot of pressure but we couldn't get any points on the board. Once we got two tries, our fitness told and the boys worked well under pressure to grind out the win.”

Next up, they must over power Barnard Castle School. The County Durham side might not have featured in the semi-finals of the U15 Cup before, but they have been regular cup protagonists in the U18 Cup, reaching the final three times.

Greenhill added: “They have obviously got a really good reputation and are known for producing players who'll you'll see representing England somewhere down the line.

“They have clearly got some great individual players and we may not have any stand out stars, but we have a great team of boys who work really hard and who are clearly doing well. That will be our strength come the game on Saturday.”


25.2.09

Northampton School for Boys intend to make the most of the occasion when they take on Judd School from Kent in the semi-finals of the Daily Mail RBS U15 Schools Cup at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry this Saturday.

NSB will make the short trip to Coventry on Friday afternoon and stay overnight in a hotel ahead of their semi-final tie.

It represents a change of approach from NSB who turned down the chance of overnight stay the last time they reached the semi-finals of the competition five years ago.

They travelled on the morning of the game and suffered a last minute defeat against Sherborne School at Castlecroft in Wolverhampton.

“It certainly hardened the edge of the coaches of not the players, because this is a different group of boys,” said Mark Lee, NSB's master-in-charge of rugby.

“That was the decision of the coaching team at the time. But we think that a Daily Mail semi-final is a special occasion and staying in a hotel is a special event for 14 and 15-year-old boys.

“It's nice for them to have that experience and to enjoy it. We are also happier keeping 22 boys close together so that they can focus on the game rather than having them at home with their parents and doing different things.”

NSB reached the last four by beating St Ambrose College from Altrincham in the quarter-finals.

Though they ended the three-year unbeaten record of Adams GS from Shropshire earlier in the tournament, Lee believes that NSB start the semi-final as underdogs.

“I would say that any game is now winnable,” Lee said. “If you look at the results of the other teams there is no stand-out side. They have all been beaten by somebody somewhere along the line.

“We are under no illusions and we are taking nothing for granted. But we probably start as underdogs against Judd and I am happy that we start as underdogs.”

Though NSB compete against Judd at athletics, they do not usually meet on the rugby pitch, but Lee has done his homework on their semi-final opponents.

“We have done our homework,” he said. “We know that Judd have a good reputation in athletics. They won the Rosslyn Park Sevens at U14s last season and they have some decent athletes in their side.

“St Ambrose were a very lively side who could attack from anywhere. We expect Judd to be a bigger version.”

NSB's semi-final side will include lock Jason Roberts who has just returned from a school half-term trip to China.

His second row partner Charlie Hillman is due to go on the school's cricket tour to Trinidad & Tobago on April 2, the day after the Daily Mail RBS Schools Cup finals day at Twickenham.

“I am going on the tour along with John Elder, one of the rugby coaches,” Lee said. “So if we do get through to the final it will be a very quick switch to cricket for us.”

The second Daily Mail RBS U15 Schools Cup semi-final between Millfield School and Barnard Castle School will be played at Broadstreet on February 28 at 1pm.

Millfield book their place in the last four by beating 2006 winners Bedford School 24-5 in the delayed quarter-final on Monday.


25.2.09

Barnard Castle from County Durham take on Millfield in the second semi-final of the Daily Mail RBS U15 Schools Cup at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry this Saturday.

Despite being one of the top rugby schools in the country, with a record to match, the Barnard Castle boys know full well the enormity of the task facing them this weekend.

They squeaked through their quarter-final, winning 7-8 against Hampton School in Surrey, with fly half Bruce Clegg scoring the winning points with a superb 40 metre kick in the last minute of the game.

Coach Luke Monument said: “The Hampton game in the last round was tough but if anything this will be tougher. Millfield have a sterling, well-earned reputation and we know they will be very difficult to beat.

“We know they have a strong pack and quick, running backs so we are under no illusions. The team is in good spirits though and looking forward to the trip down on Friday to prepare for the game.

“This is the furthest we have ever been in the competition at U15 level and it's because we have an exceptional set of players this year.

“Nine of the boys have played representative, county rugby at A or B level already this season, which shows the strength of our squad.”

The Barnard Castle side includes winger Finlay Tait, the younger brother of England player Matthew and the third rugby-playing brother to represent the school.

Older brother Alex plays for Newcastle Falcons, as does Bruce Clegg's older brother Rory who represented the school in the 2007 Daily Mail Schools U18 final at Twickenham.

Northampton School for Boys take on Judd School from Kent in the other semi-final, which kicks off at 11am.

Barnard Castle and Millfield kick off at 1pm, so the winning school will know who they will face in the final at Twickenham.


24.2.09

Nerves and high excitement may be the order of the semi-final weekend in the Daily Mail RBS Schools U15 Cup and Vase, but Coopers' Company & Coborn are taking a calm approach with the prize of a final at Twickenham Stadium just one step away.

The school from Upminster, Essex, will take on The King's School, Macclesfield in the last four of the Daily Mail RBS U15 Vase at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry on Sunday March 1.

And Coopers' head coach Leigh Marshall said his team will travel to the Midlands on Friday afternoon rather than Saturday to keep their preparations fairly low-key.

“We are being professional with a small 'p',” said Marshall, who guided Coopers' U18 team to the Vase final in 2003.

“Rather than go on Saturday and get the boys too excited we will go a day earlier, and then we can watch one or both of the cup semi-finals the day before we play, and generally have a measured approach.

“The Judd from Kent, who are on our normal fixture list, are playing in the cup and it will be good to see how they get on.”

Coopers' Company & Coborn's fixtures in the U15 Vase have been anything but normal since they were knocked out of the Daily Mail RBS U15 Cup in an early round by All Saints, Dagenham.

“The Vase has been a focus for the season for the team, who have overall lost more matches than they have won,” said Marshall. “We have had a couple of teams visit us from Hampshire and we travelled to the colder climes of Kent. Our quarter-final at home to Norwich School had to be switched to Hertford Rugby Club when there was snow on our ground.

“The U15s have been our shining light in the past but this team has its own character. There is a talented group of five or six boys and the rest muck in brilliantly. We defeated All Saints in a re-match a few weeks later which was a good sign, too.”

Coopers' captain and No.8 Matthew Wellsman muscled over from the base of a ruck to score his side's winning try with four minutes left of the 12-8 quarter-final win over Norwich, and he forms a large-and-little combination with scrum half Jack Daly, who is attached to Saracens' Academy and the Essex CB School of Rugby.

The first Daily Mail RBS U15 Vase semi-final is an all-London & South East tie between The Leys from Cambridge and KCS Wimbledon.

In the Daily Mail RBS U15 Cup, The Judd School from Tonbridge in Kent will take on face Northampton School for Boys in the opening semi-final this Saturday February 28.

The Judd have enjoyed a fine season to date and they scored a notable quarter-final success 21-5 away to the holders Wellington College.


23.2.09

The Youth Sport Trust has commissioned a report to explore how the UK School Games can be more effective at increasing opportunities for young disabled people to take part in competitive school sport and can provide an improved experience to support talented young disabled athletes.

The commission will reflect on the disability pathway leading to the UK School Games as well as the event itself and identify areas in which the Youth Sport Trust and the partners involved in the delivery of the Games should focus efforts in the future.

Importantly, the commission will be tasked with identifying what needs to change to ensure the event can really make a difference to all young people including those who aspire to take part as well as those who actually compete.

Leading the commission will be multi-paralympic medallist swimmer Marc Woods and BBC commentator Paul Dickenson, who represented Great Britain in hammer at the 1976 and 1980 Olympics.

Marc said: “During my career as a Paralympic athlete I have seen the provision and delivery of sport for people with disabilities change considerably.

“In life it is critical that we seek to review and evolve and in the world of sport this is particularly the case. My hope is that through a process of consultation with all the stake holders this commission will help to further improve sporting opportunities for all young people.”

The commission will look to consult with a range of sporting and disability federations to gain a clearer insight into how the UK School Games can become more accessible to all.

Alison Oliver, director of sport for the Youth Sport Trust, said: “The UK School Games is a fantastic multi-sport event for the UK’s elite young athletes of school age.

“We have made some excellent progress in recent years to ensure that a disability programme is established at the UK School Games with swimming, athletics and table tennis all included last year.

“The findings of this commission will allow us to focus our efforts even further and ensure that the UK School Games leads to increased opportunities and improved provision for all young people.”

It is expected that the commission report, which is due to be published at the end of the Spring, will provide detailed and considered recommendations for the Youth Sport Trust and will address the rationale for the future inclusion of an extended disability programme within the UK School Games event.


19.2.09

England and Bristol rugby union prop Sophie Hemming has officially launched the first Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) scheme for women at Hartpury College.

This pilot AASE scheme has been designed in partnership with the RFUW Hartpury College and supported by Gloucester Rugby Club to develop talented young female rugby players, providing them with the best chance possible to become selected to represent their country at senior level whilst also gaining important academic qualifications.

The timetabling of training and lectures has been designed to enable AASE players to gain maximum benefit from the facilities available at Hartpury.

With the AASE programme, players' develop through technical skills, tactical knowledge and physical conditioning, but also gain an all round knowledge of the game, and what it takes to become an elite rugby player.

Hemming, who is currently involved in England's RBS 6 Nations campaign, led a practical session at the college and then answered questions from the girls about her training commitments and her work life balance

She said: “This is a unique opportunity for the girls and one I feel will benefit England women's rugby and the girls on the AASE scheme. To be able to train on a daily basis and get an education at the same time is fantastic.”

Barry Maddocks, AASE co-ordinator, added: “From talking to Sophie, the girls have gained an excellent insight into the commitment and dedication that an international rugby player must give in order to achieve the goal of playing for your country.”


17.2.09

Daily Mail RBS Schools Cup/Vase Semi Final Draw:

February 28 - Daily Mail RBS Schools U15 Cup: Northampton School for Boys v Judd (11am); Bedford School or Millfield v Barnard Castle (1pm)

March 1 - Daily Mail RBS Schools U15 Vase: The Leys v KCS Wimbledon (11am); Coopers Co & Coborn v King's Macclesfield (1pm)

March 14 - Daily Mail RBS Schools U18 Cup: St Peter's York v St Peter's Catholic HS, Gloucester (11am); Truro College v John Fisher (1pm)

March 15 - Daily Mail RBS Schools U18 Vase: King Edward VI Stratford v Hampton (11am); John Cleveland College v Giggleswick (1pm)


17.2.09

Pupils from Nottingham High School are celebrating after being crowned national champions in the medley relay at the English School’s Swimming Finals.

Qualifying in fourth place in the heats, the U14 team of Seb Smith, Lewis Wiley, Luke Sperry and Jorge Phenix-Coyne went on to win the final and break the national record of 2.00.99 for the medley relay. All four boys also swam personal bests.

It’s the twelfth year in a row that the school has made it to the finals and they were also the only school to be represented in all six of the boys’ events – medley and freestyle in the U14, U16 and U18 categories.

The U14 team also went on to make the freestyle final – finishing seventh. Joe Mellors, another member of the U14 team, swam a personal best in this event.

Nottingham High School’s U18 team also made the medley final, finishing in eighth place, while the team also finished 11th in the freestyle event.

At U16 level, the team finished 16th place in the medley relay and tenth in the freestyle.

Swimming coach Paul Spedding said: “This was a very successful day for the school team who have continued to impress and we are very proud of them.

“To be national champions is a fantastic achievement but to break the national record while doing it is just out of this world!”


17.2.09

Last year's beaten finalists St Benedict's, Ealing, have been knocked out of this season's Daily Mail RBS U18 Cup at home to St Peter's from York, 18-14, in an entertaining quarter-final.

The result set up a battle of the namesakes in the semi-finals with York's St Peter's through to face St Peter's Catholic High School from Gloucester - 9-7 winners over Worcester Sixth Form College - at Broadstreet RFC on Saturday March 14.

And although St Benedict's made their exit, another London area school John Fisher from Purley knocked out Moulton College 18-15 to earn a tie with Truro College, who won 15-8 away to Lymm High School.

Moulton gave up home advantage against John Fisher because their pitches in Northampton were frozen, and a hard-fought affair went the way of London Wasps and England wing Paul Sackey's old school to leave them one step from a final at Twickenham Stadium on April 1.

St Benedict's have a young side this season, but St Peter's (York) head coach Steve Williams believes his team are also just off their peak, with 10 upper sixth boys in the 22 who travelled for the quarter-final in Perivale, west London.

St Benedict's and their New Zealander coach Nick Guise had few complaints after the school's third U18 Cup quarter-final in a row.

Missed goal kicks cost St Peter's a possible 14 points overall but they led 8-6 at half-time with a try by wing Chris McTurk and a penalty by full back and captain Robbie Cuthbertson to two penalties from St Benedict's full back Stuart Pearham.

Two tries from line-out catch-and-drives - scored by loosehead prop Matthew Norrell and hooker Sam Murgatroyd - helped St Peter's move into an 18-9 lead, with another Pearham penalty in between.

Second-row forward Tom Jewers muscled over for a St Benedict's try to bring the home side within a try of victory, and their No.8 Jamie Acton very nearly breached the St Peter's defence with one last charge.

But the Yorkshire side were worthy winners, and were in fine spirits as they hopped on the London Underground to catch their train home from King's Cross.

“We felt confident we could win if we played to the potential we've shown on the tough northern circuit,” said Williams, whose school lost the U18 Cup final to Exeter College in 2005.

“We only squeaked through the previous round against RGS Newcastle - scoring in the corner after they were leading by a point and had a chance to put the ball out - so we wanted to make this most of this opportunity.

“We're trying hard not to let the boys think too much of Twickenham, and, as a one-term rugby school, we've been training at lunchtimes since Christmas while hockey takes precedence.”

Though the forwards' tries made the difference, St Peter's looked strong behind too with Luke Bowler, the Yorkshire captain at fly half, and McTurk and Cuthbertson who are Yorkshire caps and members of the Leeds Academy.

The team also have the collective strength forged through 14 of the XV having come through together from the U10s, which is not the case at every school and is a fact Williams and St Peter's York are proud of.

In the Daily Mail RBS U15 Cup, the recent weather has delayed the Bedford v Millfield tie until February 23.

The winners will take on Barnard Castle in the semi-finals, while London & South East are represented by The Judd from Kent, who will face Northampton School for Boys at Broadstreet RFC on Saturday February 28.


16.2.09

A state school is guaranteed a place in the final of the Daily Mail RBS U15 Schools Cup after the draw was made for the semi-finals.

Northampton School for Boys, who beat St Ambrose College from Altrincham 19-10 in last week's quarter-finals, will meet the Judd School from Kent in the semi-finals at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry on February 28 at 11am.

NSB have been kept apart from their East Midlands rivals Bedford School, who will meet Barnard Castle School at Broadstreet on February 28 at 1pm if they can beat Millfield School in a delayed quarter-final.

Wintry weather and conflicting half-terms have forced the Bedford v Millfield tie to be put back to February 23.

The semi-finals of the Daily Mail RBS U15 Vase which will be played at Broadstreet on March 1 while the Daily Mail RBS U18 Cup semi-finals will be held at Broadstreet on March 14.

Worcester Sixth Form College were edged out 9-7 by St Peter's Catholic HS and Sixth Form Centre from Gloucester in last Friday's U18 Cup quarter-final while Moulton College from Northampton went down 18-15 at home to John Fisher College.

The semi-finals of the Daily Mail RBS U18 Schools Vase which will be played at Broadstreet on March 15.

King Edward VI School from Stratford will play Hampton School in the first tie at 11am with John Cleveland College from Hinckley taking on Giggleswick School from Yorkshire at 1pm.

King Edward's Stratford beat Gosforth HS 32-14 in their quarter-final and John Cleveland College beat North Devon College 33-0.


16.2.09

Students, footballers and the wider community in Chipping Sodbury are celebrating today following a £799,500 grant awarded by the Football Foundation, the UK’s largest sports charity.

The cash award completes the funding required to allow Chipping Sodbury School and South Gloucestershire Council to build a floodlit artificial grass pitch and sports hall. The council and the school are investing £3m in the new state of the art facilities.

The sports hall has been designed to accommodate Futsal – the fast growing Brazilian-style football game, and the artificial grass pitch is ‘third generation,’ the latest and closest to real grass yet.

The Chipping Sodbury community will be able to use the facilities outside of school time. Building work is planned to start in early summer 2009.

The Football Foundation is dedicated to revitalising the grass roots of the game, constructing modern football facilities, developing football as a force for social cohesion and as a vehicle for education in communities throughout the country.

Funded by the Premier League, The Football Association and the Government, the Football Foundation is the nation’s largest sports charity with a £40m budget going straight into the heart of football.

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation said: “We warmly congratulate Chipping Sodbury School and the Gloucestershire County FA for their hard work and dedication in securing this award.

“Sport is playing a central role in helping people to stay fit, strengthen communities and promote responsibility amongst young people. It is thanks to the funding from our partners the Premier League, the FA and Government that the Football Foundation exists to support this type of excellent project in Chipping Sodbury.”

Philip Lidstone, headteacher at Chipping Sodbury School, said: “We are all delighted that this £3.7m project is now ready to proceed and look forward to working with our partners in delivering outstanding sports facilities for the school and wider community.”

Councillor Sheila Cook, executive member for children and young people, said: “This is fantastic news for the school, and for the residents of the Chipping Sodbury area.

“The council and the school are significantly investing in developing first rate sporting facilities to promote healthy and active lifestyles and we’re grateful to the Football Foundation for this grant, which helps to complete funding for the scheme.

“The council is committed to providing every school in the district with an all-weather pitch and the development is a big boost for the local community who will also be able to use the excellent facilities.”


13.2.09

The Daily Mail, sponsors of English rugby's national schoolboy competitions since the U15 Cup first kicked off in 1987, have a new partner in RBS, who have backed the Six Nations tournament for the past six years.

The England Rugby Football Schools Union competitions will now become the Daily Mail RBS U18 and U15 Cup and the Daily Mail RBS U18 and U15 Vase.

“RBS are excited to be involved in these great tournaments,” said David Webb, head of group sponsorship.

“They have an impressive heritage and a proven track record of helping to produce top class players, as well as providing so many benefits to everyone involved at all levels.

“We hope to make them even better and look forward to helping rugby reach more young people than ever.”

RBS are working on plans for staging coaching sessions from rugby stars at competing schools, using RBS 6 Nations matches to show support for schools and inform fans about their successes, rewarding outstanding achievements at every level in the tournaments and organising RBS 6 Nations competitions and prizes for competing schools.

Many of England's top players have risen through the ranks to appear in the RBS 6 Nations after experiencing their first taste of top-class cup action in the Daily Mail RBS schools tournaments.

None more so than England and former Hutton Grammar School captain Steve Borthwick, who is delighted with the news that RBS is joining forces with the Daily Mail to back a competition which gave him and his teammates so many great memories.

The young Borthwick showed his leadership credentials back in 1998 when the unfancied Hutton from Preston came within a whisker of toppling mighty Colston's during an incredible U18 Cup run, that brought the Bristol school six successive Daily Mail titles from 1995-2000.

An inspiration in the semi-final, Borthwick scored Hutton's try, drove the team on and the result was in doubt until the final whistle when a relieved Colston's squeezed through 15-10.

“The Cup is a fantastic competition,” said Borthwick. “It was an unforgettable season when I had the privilege of leading the Hutton Grammar School team in 1998.

“Even though we didn't quite pull off the big upset and make it to Twickenham, we all enjoyed taking part and It only strengthened a great bond between us that exists to this day.

“The standard seems to get better every year and I know many of the other boys in the England team have made their mark during Cup runs with their schools. It plays a valuable role in developing the best teenagers in the game.”

But it is not just about the star players. At the heart of the competitions is the dream of playing at Twickenham and for all but a few, it will be their only experience of performing on one of the most famous rugby stages in the world.

This season more than 1,000 teams and 20,000 players - another record entry - set out on the path to the Daily Mail RBS Schools Day on April 1 at Twickenham which will host four finals - the U18 and U15 Cups and the corresponding Vase competitions, introduced to give losing teams in early rounds another bite at the cherry.


11.2.09

Beijing Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Romero, Schools Secretary Ed Balls, BskyB CEO Jeremy Darroch and former MI5 chief Dame Stella Rimington are among the guest speakers at the 2009 Sports Colleges Conference, organised by the Youth Sport Trust, which kicked off today.

The conference, themed ‘Leading the Change’ and sponsored by Sports and Leisure Group, will this year focus on the skills and techniques needed to drive the education and sporting landscape.

The conference is aimed at headteachers, directors of specialism, subject leaders and representatives from sports colleges, academies with a specialism in sport and local education authorities.

Consisting of keynote addresses, mini-keynotes, workshops, active learning zones, a learning lounge, interactive exhibition and a glittering Innovation Awards gala dinner, the conference will welcome 1,500 delegates.

Central to discussions during the conference will be the work these delegates are doing in delivering the national PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP) and the aim to offer all young people access to five hours of sport a week.

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, is making a return to the Sports Colleges Conference.

He said: “2008 will always be remembered as a fantastic year for sport. We all enjoyed the remarkable achievements by Team GB at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing.

“It was, however, a remarkable year for sports colleges and PE and school sport. Once again sports colleges were the fastest improving specialist school network in terms of GCSE passes.

“Sports colleges are demonstrating year-on-year how successfully they are using PE and sport to improve standards in a range of subjects.”

Steve Grainger, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “Sport is a powerful vehicle for change and the opportunities we have to utilise this to lead change in our schools is endless.

“It is from this motivation that this year’s conference theme ‘Leading the Change’ was developed.

“Using sport to lead change in curriculum design, in maximising the school workforce, in changing school ethos and in extending our schools to work with the community are just a
few examples of how this is happening.”

The country’s network of 480 specialist sports colleges – schools which put PE and sport at the very heart of their curriculum to drive whole school improvements and raise academic achievement – helped smash the Government’s 2008 target so that now nine out of ten children are doing at least two hours of high quality PE and sport a week.

The prestigious Innovation Awards, which will be presented at the gala dinner tonight, are given in recognition of the high quality work which is taking place in sports colleges, academies with a sport-related specialism and primary schools piloting a PE and sport-related specialism.

Sponsoring the awards this year are Fast Track, Technogym, PGL and the Sport and Leisure Group, with special recognition awards supported by Sainsbury’s and Sky.


10.2.09

George Watson’s College, last season’s beaten finalists, have drawn city rivals Fettes College in the semi-final of the Bell Lawrie U18 Scottish Schools Cup.

Scotland lock Nathan Hines made the draw along with team captains Ross Turner (Fettes College), Duncan Finnie (George Watson’s College), Jamie Anderson (George Heriot’s) and Stewart Shaw (Stewart’s Melville College).

Hines said: “School and youth rugby can be some of the greatest and most enjoyable days of your playing career so it was good to see the boys draw their teams and the banter that came as a result.”

North Berwick High School, the last remaining state school in the U18 competition, will face Stewart’s Melville College should they see off last season’s semi-finalists George Heriot’s School.

George Watson’s College U15s will face a potential semi-final re-match from last season if Hutchesons’ Grammar School see off the quarter-final challenge of the High School of Glasgow while Edinburgh Academy will host Galashiels Academy or North Berwick High School.

The Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools Cup final will take place at Murrayfield Stadium on Wednesday March 18.


9.2.09

Christ's Hospital School, in Horsham, West Sussex, is hosting the Sussex Open Rugby Sevens event on March 1.

One of the largest events of its kind, 48 boys and girls teams from some of the best state and independent rugby playing schools in southern England will take part.

Some of the country’s leading internationals and Guinness Premiership referees will be attending include Sean Davey (a Guinness professional ref and a teacher at Christs Hospital), Wayne Barnes and Andrew Small.

More than 2000 parents and other visitors are expected to attend the event, with all the profits raised going to a sports development fund that supports children from underprivileged backgrounds fulfil their sporting ambitions.


6.2.09

Lymm High School's love affair with the Daily Mail Schools Cup started not with a fairy-tale Twickenham success, but with a 16-9 defeat by Wallington Grammar School in the final of the U18 Vase in 2000.

There was disappointment on that occasion that the prize was denied them, but more importantly for the Cheshire school, the thrill of the chase and the experience of a shared journey lit a flame that burns more brightly than ever.

Lymm are now just two victories away from a return to Twickenham, their immediate challenge being a home quarter-final against Truro College next week, weather permitting, which is a fairly big 'if' at this stage.

Coach Len Davies, of course, has been this far, and further, on the Twickenham trail three times before, but this season is special for him and his team.

“We have reached the final of the U18 Vase twice and won it once when we beat London Leisure College in 2006,” he says: “We've also won the U15 Cup, beating St Paul's, Barnes in 2007.

“But this year is special because this is the furthest we've ever got in the U18 Cup and it's a fantastic achievement. To get this far in the main competition is well beyond our expectations.

“We're just a bog standard state school as such and it's fantastic to even think about getting to the higher echelons of schoolboy rugby.”

Davies's modesty, however, camouflages a wealth of sporting investment within the organisation.

Of the 22 players expected to be in the quarter-final squad, 21 will have come through the school from year 7, a testament to the calibre of sporting infrastructure and the vision of the people in charge. A single defeat in over 20 games underlines the quality of the squad.

“The previous head invested in ensuring that whatever sport we were offering, people were properly qualified to coach.” says Davies.

“He insisted that people went on coaching courses and got qualifications, so what we have now is youngsters coming through from year 7 who have been taught the game properly.

“As a result, there is no plateau effect as the lads come through. Every year group is being stretched and moved on. When they reach the senior end, there is no big catch-up situation.
“You're simply adding value to youngsters who are already knowledgeable and thirsty for more. From our point of view, it means that you can't just throw a bog-standard session at them. They are accustomed to good coaching and expect it. It's great to see.”

Close links with Lymm Rugby Club has provided an added dimension to the development process, while the current team is boosted by the squad of players who were U15 Cup winners a couple of years ago.

Daily Cup results underline the balanced approach of the side. With 175 points scored in six matches, the fire-power of the team is clear enough.

Less predictable is the fact that vice-captain and prop Elliott Johnson is the leading try-scorer with a double-figure haul to date.

Even more impressive, however, are the defensive statistics, which show only19 points conceded, with only a single try being leaked.

Coach Chris Kinsey, who directs operations at Lymm and has a rugby league pedigree, gets the credit for that, although the team ethos in a bunch of lads who clearly punch well above their weight and are smart beyond their years also plays a part.

All of which will count for nought if the team does not deliver on the day and as everyone becomes more tense, keeping feet on the ground and heads out of the clouds is the challenge for Davies.

“It all a bit twitchy now and everyone is getting very excited,” he says. “We're only two hours 20 minutes away from Twickenham, but we're a long, long way away.

“We've got to get out there and work hard and make sure we're as well prepared as we can be. That's all we can do.

“We don't want to be in the position of 'if only.’ If our players play on song, we can take most people on.”

At this stage, Davies diverts the conversation to the exceptional U12 team that is on the conveyor belt. A Daily Mail success story for another day it seems.


3.2.09

Former pupils Paul Sackey and George Skivington have been following John Fisher's progress as the Purley school reached the quarter-finals of the Daily Mail Schools U18 Cup for the first time in four years.

London Wasps pair Sackey and Skivington - currently in the England and England Saxons squads respectively - were back at their old school earlier this season to keep an eye on the 1st XV.

Second-row forward Skivington, who played in the Saxons' 66-0 defeat of Portugal last week and will be the captain against Ireland A on February 6, watched John Fisher in the Esher schools festival and took charge of a line-out session when the boys had a pre-season training camp at St Mary's College.

“Paul Sackey has come along a couple of times to see the boys and they always enjoy meeting him,” said Matt Gold, the John Fisher head coach. “Both he and George are always ready to give words of advice and I know they look out for our results.”

This is the first round when an open, national draw is made and John Fisher, who became a specialist sports college in 2004, will travel to Northampton to meet Moulton College who have never been in the last eight of the Daily Mail U18 Cup before.

John Fisher have already knocked out Caterham (17-14 away), Wimbledon College (36-3 at home) and Langley Park School for Boys (12-10 away).

Perhaps most impressively, they defeated Worthing College in the last regional round, scoring five tries in a 33-7 victory in Sussex.

John Fisher centre Ben Axten-Burrett is in the England U16 development squad meeting at Cokethorpe School for training this weekend (February 6-8). And Gold said Axten-Burrett's progress had prompted a departure from rugby policy.

“We don't normally play U16 players in the first team,” said Gold, “but we thought Ben had to go up to the best for his development and he has made a big difference to the team, adding defensive steel and a good boot.”

Hooker Jordan Saunders captained Surrey U18s a year young last season and scrum half Jack Walsh is attached to London Wasps.

But Gold, who feels a particular affinity with this group of players as he coached them during his final year of teaching practice, preferred to hail the overall quality of his young side.

“About 15 of the 22 who will play against Moulton are in the lower sixth. There hasn't been one individual who stands out, which is unusual. Instead they have been consistent together, particularly with some good results in late November, early December,” he added.

“We don't know much about Moulton, but one thing I have told the boys is not to think about the final just yet.

“Of course they are excited to be in the quarter-finals, but if they start thinking about Twickenham, they could be out before they know it.

“The current lower sixth have an idea what that is like, as they were beaten in the last 16 of the Daily Mail U15 Cup two years ago.”


3.2.09

Tameside Sports Service have launched the X Clubs - community sports clubs for children aged 5–19.

X clubs is a three year programme which will enable children from Tameside to participate in up to 30 weeks of activity per year across a vast range of sports and activities.

All X club members will receive their own individual membership card and free subscription to the X club magazine.

Members will also benefit from seasonal offers including free swim passes at local leisure facilities while the club will be split into four distinct areas.

X club Recreation provides drop-in sport sessions for young people of all abilities in sports such as netball, badminton and football.

X club Active provides physical activity sessions such as jogging clubs, teen gym sessions and exercise to music.

X club Extreme provides new and exciting sport and physical activity sessions such as dodgeball and ultimate Frisbee while X club Movement provides creative activities such as dance, cheerleading and gymnastics.

The aim is to get thousands of young people across Tameside to become X club members and benefit from the range of high quality sessions on offer.

Young people will also be supported to join local sports clubs and take part in active recreation.

The X clubs will be funded by Sports England and supported by the Youth Sport Trust and Greater Manchester Sports Partnership as part of a £36 million investment in ‘Sport Unlimited’ - a nationwide initiative to get more children and young people taking part in sports that interest them most outside of school.

X clubs hope to make a significant contribution to the Government’s target of giving children and young people the opportunity to do five hours of PE and sport a week at school and in the community.

The funding is part of the additional £100 million investment in sport for young people announced by the Prime Minister in 2007.

To find out how to become a member and get involved in the X clubs programme visit www.tameside.gov.uk/getactive or contact sports development on 0161 609 1277.


3.2.09

The Judd School from Tonbridge in Kent are celebrating their first appearance in the quarter-finals of the Daily Mail Schools U15 Cup.

And they will put an impressive record of results on the line as they make a daunting-looking trip to the holders Wellington College on Tuesday February 10.

This U15 year group at The Judd have only lost once in 15-a-side rugby in their four seasons at the school - against RGS High Wycombe last October - but coach David Joseph says there is no magic formula behind their success.

“We haven't done anything drastically different, other than give a little more time to the team, the closer they got to the quarter-finals,” Joseph said.

“We have had injuries and yet whoever has stepped into the side has done a great job. It would be wrong to pick out an individual, it's a very talented year group, a lot of them double up in other sports at county level and they've got this winning habit.”

The Judd won the Kent U15 Cup in December, defeating Langley Park at Gravesend RFC.

“We have had a number of good U15 sides in recent years,” said Joseph, “but in the Daily Mail Cup we have bumped into St Paul's, Barnes, a couple of times, who went on to semi-finals and two finals.

“We are delighted to have reached this stage and though it is a very tough draw against Wellington who have a great pedigree it is, as far as I'm concerned, a great opportunity.

“We always knew that to go any further we would have to beat anybody and everybody. I think all the previous round's matches were won by fewer than seven points so there are good sides throughout.

“The parents are always very supportive and we are trying to lay on some buses to get as many supporters along as possible, as I am sure Wellington will have a very vocal crowd to cheer them on.”


3.2.09

The Rugby Football Union's Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) scheme is bearing fruit with the first of its graduates coming through the ranks.

The AASE scheme has been running in 14 England Rugby Academies for two years, and the aim of the programme is to meet the needs of young people, aged between 16 and 18 who have the potential to achieve excellence in rugby while pursuing an education at the same time.

The course takes two years to complete, with the AASE framework providing a structured national training and development route.

The framework contains a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) which is fully reflective of the broad range of competences required such as the technical, tactical, physical and psychological aspects of rugby as well as addressing wider issues such as lifestyle, communication, wider career management, and health and safety.

David Shaw, the RFU's AASE Manager, said: “The England Rugby Academies were first put in place in 1999, and after some time they were reviewed.

“We realised then that, although further and higher Education could provide flexible arrangements for players of 19 plus, we had problems gaining sufficient access to players aged between 16 and 18.

“To address this problem without compromising the players' education, we looked at alternative routes and it was then that we decided on AASE.

“It provides us with the framework to give players the chance to excel in their sport and still get the education they need, so that if rugby doesn't work out for them they will have completed their education and have other careers to fall back on.

“As AASE gives each participant an additional qualification alongside their mainstream courses, it can help them pursue further education opportunities. Our belief is that education must run alongside sport at this level, however talented the player.”

The scheme has been hugely successful in rugby. Out of the initial 83 scholars, 12 have so far achieved international honours, 34 have been offered professional rugby contracts, 45 have progressed into higher education and four have moved into employment.

Shaw added: “These figures speak volumes as it shows the success of the scheme for breeding future international stars while at the same time not leaving their education behind.”

(For more on the scheme see the latest edition of School Sport Magazine)


2.2.09

Nearly £1m is to be spent by the Tameside Sport and Physical Activity Alliance (SPAA) over the next two years on getting Tameside people more active.

According to Sport England’s Active People survey, less than 22 per cent of adults currently take part in the desired amount of sport and active recreation.

Tameside’s unique three-part programme will add momentum to the Tameside ‘Get Moving campaign’. www.tameside.gov.uk/getactive and will be tacking the main barriers to getting an active head on.

Active Teens will be tackling the number of 14-19 year olds dropping out of sport and will include an innovative ‘teen gym’ and a range of new activities.

The Active Families strand of the project will give Tameside families opportunities to take part in sport and active recreation together.

Back to Sport will encourage adults who are as not as active as they once were to take part in a range of activities such as cricket, netball, rugby, swimming, cycling and recreational walking.

Sport England has provided £283,000 of Lottery funding towards the SPAA programme which comprises of a range of groups and organisations with the common goal of getting Tameside more active.

These include, Tameside Council, Tameside and Glossop PCT, Tameside Sports Trust, Tameside School Sports Partnership, New Charter Housing Trust Group, Manchester City in the Community, Tameside 3rd Sector Coalition, Greater Manchester Police and Tameside Sports Clubs.

Part of the investment has enabled the recruitment of four new dedicated community development officers who will help to ensure the success of SPAA plans.

Stewart Kellett, regional director of Sport England said: “We all know that taking part in sport and active recreation is good for us, but everyday life often gets in the way.

“The Active People Survey indicates that the majority of adults in Tameside are not active enough, but thanks to the SPAA partners and this project, many people will be getting a helping hand to reduce some of the barriers to getting active.

“Sport England are delighted to be supporting this project, which will prove that you don’t have to be an Olympian to enjoy the benefits of being fit and healthy.”

Fore more information contact Toby Wood at Tameside MBC 0161 603 5289 or email toby.wood@tameside.gov.uk


1.2.09

Worcester Sixth Form College are feeling the benefits of developing close links with the academy at Guinness Premiership club Worcester Warriors.

Having reached the sixth round of last season's Daily Mail U18 Schools Cup, Worcester Sixth Form College have gone one better and now face a local derby at St Peter's Catholic High School and Sixth Form Centre in Gloucester in the quarter-finals on February 11.

“In some ways last season was a bigger achievement because the apprenticeship scheme we have was in its first year and we only had one recognised academy player in Andy Short,” said Matt Sherratt, coach of Worcester Sixth Form College.

“We've got more players on the apprenticeship scheme this season and we set the boys a minimum target of reaching the Daily Mail quarter-finals.”

The apprenticeship scheme that Sherratt, who works for Worcester Warriors, refers to is the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) which combines sporting development with academic studies.

Worcester's AASE students report for training sessions at 7am three-times-a-week, are full-time students in the sixth form college and play midweek matches for the college as well as for Worcester's academy.

Centre Short is in his second year on the AASE scheme and has also played for Worcester in the Guinness A League.

Short has been included in the England U18 squad preparing for the Six Nations tournament in Italy in April and number eight Matt Kvesic, another AASE student, is in a second England U18 squad for the AER (Association Europeenne de Rugby) Tournament in France.

Kvesic was capped by England U16s last year when he was a pupil at Blundell's School in Devon but he has switched to Worcester this season having been spotted by the Warriors' academy staff at a coaching camp in the south west three years ago.

Former England U16 A captain Will Radburn has also switched to Worcester Sixth Form College from Tudor Grange School and he too is on the AASE scheme.

Worcester Sixth Form College beat Ellesmere College from Shropshire to secure their place in their first quarter-final, but Sherratt accepts that St Peter's represent a major hurdle for his side to overcome.

“I come from Gloucester so I know a bit about them,” Sherratt said. “They have links with Gloucester's academy, they have a good record in this competition and it will be a tough game for us especially as this is still early days for our apprenticeship scheme.”

Moulton College, the other Midlands qualifiers for the quarter-finals, are also benefiting from close links with the academy of a Guinness Premiership club, in their case Northampton Saints.

Moulton, who are coached by former Northampton and Bedford Blues lock Jon Phillips, will also be making their first appearance in a Daily Mail Schools Cup quarter-final next week when they welcome John Fisher School from Hampshire to Northampton.


31.1.09

Northampton School for Boys have turned to England physiotherapist Phil Pask to help them get prop Anthony Heyhoe fit for their Daily Mail U15 Schools Cup quarter-final at Altrincham's St Ambrose College on February 11.

Heyhoe is currently sidelined by an ankle injury but he has been receiving regular treatment from Pask, the former Northampton Saints flanker, who is an important part of England's backroom staff.

“Phil has a private practice just down the road from the school and he's a friend of mine so we are hoping that he can work his magic on Anthony,” said Mark Lee, NSB's head of rugby.

NSB also have a slight injury doubt over Mark Darby, one of their two scrum-halves, but expect him to be fit for what is a trip into the unknown.

“We know very little about St Ambrose to be honest,” Lee said. “But they have written to say that the quarter-final will be played at Sale Sharks' training ground which suggests that they have close links with them.

“But they have won seven games to get to this stage of the competition so we will treat them with respect and give it our best shot.

“We will be travelling up on the morning and we reckon that it will be a three-and-a-half to four hour journey from here so our planning will be important.”

“The only rough formline we have got is that St Ambrose were beaten by Lymm HS who lost to Adams Grammar School, who we beat in the sixth round.

“But you can't be sure what sort of side they had out. We were beaten by Loughborough Grammar School last week but we only put out half-a-side because we wanted to keep our top players fresh for the Daily Mail.”

NSB, who reached the Daily Mail U15 semi-finals in 2004, beat St George's School from Harpenden in the seventh round.

But it was the victory over Shropshire-based Adams that gave them their biggest boost.

“Adams had not lost for three years but we went there, defended brilliantly and won 10-0,” Lee said.

“We have some talented boys but to win a game like that away from home gave them a bit more confidence.”

Bedford School, the U15 Cup winners three years ago, are also through to the last eight and will have home advantage against Millfield School, who beat RGS High Wycombe 10-3 in the seventh round.

“It would be fantastic if we could get two schools from East Midlands through to the semi-finals,” Lee said.


30.1.09

Giggleswick School from North Yorkshire are just two wins away from a place in the final of the Daily Mail Schools U18 Vase at Twickenham.

And the evidence of their recent seven-try demolition of visitors Bolton School suggests that their quarter-final visitors Caterham School from Kent face a stern test when they arrive in Settle on February 11.

The school, which includes the late TV celebrities Russell Harty and Richard Whiteley among its better-known old boys, has been enjoying a successful season, with only three defeats being suffered so far against Lancaster RGS, Kirkham and Woodhouse Grove.

Key to their 43-14 Vase success was the fact that the team has a very strong spine. No 8 Alex Reider, a very powerful runner, was in the Yorkshire U16 side last season, while scrum-half Mark Gemmell, an exception talent, was in the Yorkshire U18 side this season.

While being edged out for the North, he has extended his representative experience with the Public School Barbarians XV.

His brother Chris, who plays centre or full-back, was in the England U16 Group trials at Broadstreet last weekend, while his co-centre against Bolton, George Elliott, was in the England U16 A squad last year and is part of the Leeds Tykes Academy.

“I was very apprehensive today because we had to put in such a monumental effort against Stonyhurst in the previous round. We hadn't beaten them for 20 years and it was a massive effort to end that run in difficult conditions.

“The fact that today's game didn't have the same appeal worried me a bit, but we showed that we are a dangerous side, we play with the ball in hand and we like to have a go.

“We showed that with some good tries, but we also showed that when our concentration goes, we can leak soft tries. We probably created another three tries that weren't taken and as the competition gets stronger, you cannot afford those lapses in either attack or defence.

“We're a small school, with only 65 boys to select from, and most of the team is from the lower sixth, so we've done well to get to where we are. We're level-headed about it. We're delighted to have a home quarter-final and we see where we go from there.

"We have two regular players - centre Sam Bartlett and wing Mubarak Abdullahi - who were missing because of university business who will come back into contention for the next round.”

While Bolton were ultimately well beaten, they lacked nothing in endeavour and but for the clear superiority in terms of pace and power of a nucleus of the Giggleswick side, the margin would have been much closer.

Hopes that Yorkshire's Craven district might have two teams advancing on Twickenham were dashed when Ermysted's Grammar School from Skipton, winners of the U18 Vase competition in 2007, were beaten 15-0 at Kirkham Grammar.

North East interest was strengthened, however, when Gosforth High School emerged with a 32-10 win over St John Fisher Sixth Form College and they will now visit the winners of the King Edward VI, Stratford/Old Swinford Hospital clash in the quarter-final on February 11.


30.1.09

Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling visited Henry Beaufort School in Winchester yesterday to present them with a cheque for £342,377 on behalf of the Football Foundation towards the development of a floodlit artificial grass pitch.

The Football Foundation grant, combined with funding of £130,000 from Winchester City Council, will make a major contribution to the funding of a £600,000 floodlit third generation artificial grass pitch and accessible changing facilities.

Henry Beaufort is an established community school and aims to create a community centre of excellence for youth football for all.

As part of the application to the Football Foundation, the school produced a comprehensive football development plan in partnership with Hampshire FA, Winchester City Council and youth football clubs from the Winchester area.

This plan will support the development of grass roots football and has key areas to target such as provision of facilities for use by local youth teams, provision of exit routes for school age pupils into local football clubs, development of women and girl’s football, development of football for disability groups, social inclusion and provision of training for local volunteers.

Jeff Stelling said: “I am delighted to join youngsters and staff at The Henry Beaufort School to celebrate their success in getting this vital funding from the Football Foundation.

“When it opens the new sports site will have excellent facilities and be a big boost to football in the local community.

“Who knows, it may even lead to some youngsters from around Winchester going on to play for a top flight club or pulling on an England shirt.”

Jonathan de Sausmarez, headteacher, at Henry Beaufort School, said: “The significant contribution by the Football Foundation will create a facility that will benefit the whole community. It really is one of the most exciting developments in creating sporting opportunities for all.”

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation added: “Congratulations should go to The Henry Beaufort School and the Hampshire County FA who have worked hard to secure this vital investment for sport in the area.

“I am delighted that more than £340,000 of Football Foundation funding is going to help build state-of-the-art facilities which will benefit pupils and the local community in and around Winchester.

“Since its launch in 2000, the Foundation has supported 611 projects across Hampshire worth £22m.”


29.1.08

Hearts footballer Andrew Driver paid tribute to North Berwick High after the school progressed through to the quarter finals of the Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools Cup – even though he admits he hasn’t played rugby since he finished studying there.

The East Lothian school reached the quarter finals of the U18 competition with an assured display and will now face George Heriot’s.

As the only remaining state school left in both competitions, highly-rated winger Driver, who played both football and rugby at the school, sent a good luck message to the classes of 2009.

Driver said: “I’m really pleased to see my old school doing so well in the Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools Cup.

“Even though I’ve gone on to pursue a career in professional football, I really enjoyed playing rugby at North Berwick High and the school seems to produce a lot of local talent.

“Full credit to both the players and the coaches on their achievements so far and the fact North Berwick have beaten well-known rugby schools from Edinburgh and Glasgow shows how good they are.

“I’ve got some really good memories from my schooldays and I wish both the U15s and the U18s all the best in the quarter finals.”

In the other quarter final ties, Stewart’s Melville College face Hutchesons’ Grammar, Fettes College take on Dollar Academy and Merchiston Castle face George Watson’s College with the matches set to be played on Saturday.

Bell Lawrie U18 Scottish Schools Cup quarter finals:

Fettes College v Dollar Academy (31 January, kick off 10.20am)
Merchiston Castle School v George Watson’s College (31 January, kick off 12.30pm)
North Berwick High v George Heriot’s School (4 February, kick off 2pm)
Stewart’s Melville College v Hutchesons’ Grammar (31 January, kick off 10.30am)

Bell Lawrie U15 Scottish Schools Cup remaining quarter finals:

Galashiels Academy v North Berwick High School
Hutchesons’ GS or Robert Gordon’s College v High School of Glasgow


29.1.09

The draws for the quarter-finals of this season's rugby union Daily Mail Schools Cup and Vase competitions have been made as follows.

The ties are due to be played in the week beginning February 9.

Daily Mail Schools U18 Cup: Lymm HS v Truro College; Moulton College v John Fisher; St Benedict's Ealing v St Peter's, York; St Peter's HS & Sixth Form Centre (Gloucester) v Worcester Sixth Form College

Daily Mail Schools U18 Vase: King Edward VI, Stratford-upon-Avon or Old Swinford Hospital v Gosforth HS; Hampton v St Thomas Rich's; North Devon College or Cheltenham Bournside v John Cleveland College or King Edward VI, Fiveways; Giggleswick v Caterham

Daily Mail Schools U15 Cup: St Ambrose College v Northampton School for Boys; Wellington College v Judd; Bedford v Millfield or RGS High Wycombe; Hampton v Barnard Castle

Daily Mail Schools U15 Vase: Leys v Kirkham GS or Ermysteds GS; Newquay Tretherras v King's College School, Wimbledon; Coopers Company and Coborn v Norwich or Church Stretton; King's Macclesfield or Lancaster RGS v Reading Blue Coat or Beechen Cliff


29.1.09

School and swimming clubs across the UK are being urged to take to the water and help raise funds for breast cancer research by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s £100 Swimming Challenge.

The £100 Challenge is an annual initiative where Campaign asks swimming clubs and schools UK-wide to hold a fundraising event in support of the charity.

This can be anything from a sponsored channel swim in your pool to a coffee morning with your club or school - it’s completely up to you. Plus, all the money raised will help Campaign fund innovative world-class research.

Last year 30 swimming clubs and schools across the UK took part in the £100 Challenge, raising a fantastic £20,000 for the charity. Campaign is hoping to smash this target in 2009 and needs you help.

Colin Norford, Breast Cancer Campaign’s Community Development Senior Manager, said: “Taking part in Campaign’s £100 Swimming Challenge is simple and it’s a great way to have fun with friends while raising vital funds for research into breast cancer. So get your club or school involved and help Campaign beat breast cancer.”

The fundraising challenge is set at £100. However, there are various fundraising levels in place for those that think they can beat this target: Bronze (£100), Silver (£500), Gold (£1,000) and Pink (£2,500).

So no matter how large or small your club is, you can get involved and take up the challenge in 2009.

Campaign has produced a handy fundraising guide with helpful tips and ideas to get you started, plus a dedicated team member will be on hand once to provide you will all the support and materials you need to make your event a complete success.

For more information or to request your fundraising pack, call 020 7749 3731, email 100challenge@breastcancercampaign.org or visit www.breastcancercampaign.org


29.1.08

More than 100 youngsters took part in the final Nottingham City Schools
Indoor Rowing League competition at the Farnborough School in Clifton.

Organized by partnership development manager Paul Walker based at Farnborough and Maxine Tompkins, school sports coordinator at Djanogly, Farnborough took first place in the girls event followed by Greenwood Dale (second), Bluecoat School in third and Manning School in fourth.

In the boys event, the superior firepower of the Greenwood Dale boys proved vital as they took first place ahead of Farnborough School, Djanogly City Academy and Bluecoat School.

All the rowers competed on Concept2 indoor rowing machines to tracks from Oasis and Queen

“Paul and Maxine have put together a great winter progamme for city youngsters,” said Keith Atkinson, who was talent-spotting for Nottingham Rowing Club.

“It’s ideal for those turned off by traditional sports or for those who can’t get on to fields because is dark or they are waterlogged.

“Cardiff had a similar event just before Christmas and Manchester has one at the Velodrome next week but Nottingham was the first and still leads the way. Long may it continue to do so.”


28.1.09

Oundle School tasted defeat in the final of the East Midlands U18 girls regional championships – but still qualified for the national finals in March.

Oundle, near Peterborough, lost 6-5 to John Cleveland College, from Hinckley at the tournament at Tupton Hall School in Derbyshire.

Moved indoors because of bad weather, Oundle had earlier secured a semi-final slot on goal difference with victories over John Leggott College and Nottingham School for Girls (10-6) and a 12-12 draw with John Cleveland College, despite losing to Chellaston School.

Facing Oakham School, who had beaten them earlier in the season, determination and a strong performance by goal attack Zoe Rice secured a 9-4 win.

Despite losing to John Cleveland in the final, both teams qualified for the national finals which Oundle are due to host on March 21.

Team captain Alice Banks, 18, said: “Our goal attack Zoe Rice had a chance to show off her new skill during the match against Oakham - bouncing the ball off the post from a back line pass, catching it and then scoring.

“She executed it perfectly leaving the spectators amazed and slightly confused that such a thing was actually allowed.

“All the team played excellently throughout the tournament although Grace Buck was particularly outstanding and her prowess in defence was a major factor leading to our success.

“We look forward to being tested by some stern opposition in the national finals.”

Louise Barnwell, head of girls’ games, said: “The school is absolutely delighted as not only have we secured the hosting of such a prestigious tournament but we are now also playing in it which is a fantastic achievement.

“We are very proud of the girls as they have been working very hard in training under the expert guidance of their coach Bev Burnham and it has clearly paid off.”


28.1.09

North Berwick High booked their place in the last eight of the Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools U18 Cup with an impressive 14-7 win over Glasgow Academy at Grange Road.

The East Lothian School reached the quarter finals with an assured display and now face George Heriot’s School.

Stewart’s Melville College and Fettes College ensured their places in the quarter finals before Christmas with wins over Galashiels Academy and The High School of Glasgow respectively.

Now Stewart’s Melville will lock horns with Hutchesons’ Grammar while Fettes College face Dollar Academy.

George Watson’s College survived a spirited display by Robert Gordon’s College to record a fine 33-7 win while George Heriot’s School maintained the strong Edinburgh presence in the competition by beating The High School of Dundee 20-13.

Tournament holders Merchiston Castle showed that they would not be relinquishing their grip on the trophy without a fight by beating a far travelled Gordonstoun 71-0 at Colinton.

As a result, Merchiston face Watson’s in the quarter finals in an all-Edinburgh tie which promises to be a great spectacle.

On the same day, Dollar Academy beat Marr College 58-10 and Hutchesons’ Grammar School beat Morrison’s Academy 19-3 to be the only team apart from Stewart’s Melville to win away from home.

Within the group of eight surviving teams, there are four previous Cup winners with Merchiston, Dollar, Stewart’s Melville and North Berwick all former champions.

Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools Cup quarter finals (to be played Saturday January 31)

Stewart’s Melville v Hutchesons’ Grammar; Fettes College v Dollar Academy; Merchiston Castle School v George Watson’s College; North Berwick High v George Heriot’s


27.1.09

Moulton College from Northampton have been given a home tie against John Fisher School from Surrey in their first-ever Daily Mail U18 Schools Cup quarter-final.

Moulton, who are coached by former Northampton Saints and Bedford Blues lock Jon Phillips, reached the last eight for the first time by beating Norwich School 15-10 in the sixth round.

Worcester Sixth Form College, the other Midlands representatives in the quarter-finals, face a short trip to St Peter's Catholic HS and Sixth Form Centre from Gloucester. Worcester beat St George's Harpenden 18-6 in the sixth round.

In the U15 Schools Cup, Bedford School will be at home to either Millfield School or RGS High Wycombe.

But their East Midlands rivals Northampton School for Boys face a trip to Altrincham to play St Ambrose College.

Bedford beat Rugby School 12-5 in a hard-fought seventh round tie while NSB beat St George's School from Harpenden 19-7.

Quarter Final Draw (Ties to be played on February 11):

U18 Cup: Lymm HS v Truro College; Moulton College v John Fisher School; St Benedict's School v St Peter's School, York; St Peter's Catholic HS and Sixth Form Centre v Worcester Sixth Form College

U18 Vase: King Edward VI, Stratford or Old Swinford Hospital School v Gosforth HS or St John Fisher Catolic HS; Hampton School v St Thomas Rich's School; North Devon College or Cheltenham Bournside School v John Cleveland College or King Edward VI Five Ways; Giggleswick School or Bolton School v Caterham School

U15 Cup: St Ambrose College v Northampton School for Boys; Wellington College v Judd School; Bedford School v Millfield School or RGS High Wycombe; Hampton School v Barnard Castle School

U15 Schools Vase: Leys School v Kirkham GS or Ermysteds GS; Newquay Tretheras School v KCS Wimbledon; Coopers Company & Coburn School v Norwich School or Church Stretton School; Kings School Macclesfield or Lancaster RGS v Reading Blue Coat School or Beechen Cliff School


26.1.09

Whitgift School, from Croydon, beat Ipswich School 8-6 in the national boys indoor U16 final at the Birmingham NEC yesterday.

Ipswich also had to content themselves with a runners-up medal in the boys U18 final after losing 5-3 to The Perse School, from Cambridge.

In the girls finals, it was the club teams who took the honours as Harleston Magpies beat Horsham 4-1 in the U16 final while Belper HC beat Trojans HC, from Southampton, 4-0 in the U18 final.

(For full reports see the next edition of School Sport Magazine)


25.1.09

Prep schools from across the Midlands and North will be in action at Moseley's Billesley Common ground on Sunday February 1 in the regional finals of the National Schools Rugby Tournament.

The competition, now in its 14th year, involves 170 teams from 80 schools nationwide with this weekend's regional events producing qualifiers for the national finals which will be played at Epsom College on March 1.

The schools in the Midlands and North qualifying event will involve at least 330 players in three age groups - U9, U10 and U11.

Among the entrants are Warwick Junior who won the national U10 title last year and who have entered sides in all three age groups.

Other entrants at Moseley are Summer Fields, Arnold Lodge, Town Close, Bronte House, Winchester House, Bromsgrove Junior, QEGS, St Faiths, Bedford Modern Junior, Barnardiston Hall, King's Hawford and Highfields.

The tournament, which will be attended by Andrew Scoular, the RFU's community rugby director, starts at 11am and is due to finish around 2.30pm.

Further details about the National Schools Rugby Tournament can be obtained from: www.nsrt.org.uk


24.1.09

Lincroft Middle School in Bedfordshire, Paula Radcliffe's old school, hosted the biggest-ever Bedfordshire Cross Country Championships.

More than 1300 runners from 33 schools from Bedfordshire, Northampton and Essex took part in the eighth running of this annual schools event.

Lincroft dominated the team competition by winning five of the six team age groups, with Robert Bloomfield School winning the year 8 girls race.

Schools interested in taking part next year can contact Richard Edwards, head of boys PE at Lincroft Middle School on 01234 822147.


22.1.09

Allesley Primary School in Coventry hosted the 1,000,000th Yazoo Tag Celebration Day, a far-reaching community tag rugby programme run by the RFU over the last two years across
England.

Aimed at encouraging children to participate in sport and pursue a safer and healthier lifestyle, England and Sale wing Mark Cueto, also the RFU YAZOO Tag Rugby Ambassador, was on hand to offer coaching advice and support to the young players.

Mark also presented a surprise £5,000 cheque to the school with Yazoo MD John Lee.


21.1.09

The Mountbatten and Romsey Schools in Hampshire are celebrating the successful conclusion of their inaugural Challenge Cup.

The first multi-sports festival featured 44 matches between the two neighbouring secondary schools, with each match representing one point in a Ryder Cup style competition.

The brainchild of Callum Provan, head of PE at Romsey School, and Peter Faulkner, director of sport at The Mountbatten School, more than 700 students took part in the four-day sporting extravaganza.

Eleven traditional sports and activities – badminton, basketball, benchball, dance, football, gymnastics, netball, rugby, table tennis and tennis – were selected by four year 10 Sports Council members, Frances Savage and Jonny Harper, from Romsey School, and Bethany Shaw and Joanne Bottell, from Mountbatten.

Then sports leaders in every year were nominated to organise, manage and officiate some or all of the competitions.

Gordon Taylor, head of PE at Mountbatten, said: Both schools hold great store by leadership and volunteering.

“The Challenge Cup has emphasised the quality of the sports leaders in both schools, with students adopting essential roles and responsibilities in the development of the competition.”

Callum Provan, from Romey, added: “The concept was to include as many pupils as possible to benefit from the positive values that are inherent in sport and that will contribute towards building a more understanding community.”

After four days of competition, which was followed by staff football and netball matches, Mountbatten beat Romsey 22.5-14.5.

Partnership development manager Pat Salmon praised the initiative as outstanding practice between the two schools.

She added: “With community coherence high on the educational and political agenda, what better way to promote the positive and responsible contribution of Romsey youth than through a major sporting festival.”


21.1.09

Boys from Durham’s independent schools have been selected to play in both of the lock forward positions in the U13 Prep Schools Barbarians, North of England and Midlands rugby team, which will face the South of England at Rugby School on Sunday February 15.

Team-mates Ruari Bell and Toby Simpson (both year 8 at Durham School) are paired in the second row for the regional U13 team.

Both second row forward positions in the regional U11 team are also filled by Durham schoolboys - Ben Langthorne (form 6 at Bow, Durham School) and Sandy Rae (Durham Chorister School).

Ben Mason, director of sport at Durham School, said: “Sport is very important at Durham School and all pupils participate in activities every single day of the week. We generally find that fit and healthy children are happy children in all that they do, both at school and at home.”


20.1.09

The Rosslyn Park National Schools Sevens Rugby Union Tournament - one of the world’s biggest schools competitions - is celebrating its 70th anniversary in March.

2009 will see more than 700 squads in six separate tournaments in one week from March 23-27 - Juniors (U13), Preparatory Schools, Colts (U16), Festival (U18 – 1 term rugby schools), Open (U18 for any school), and girls (U18).

Kick off is at 10.20am on March 23rd at the pitches on Wimbledon Common and continues for four days.

The finals of the Juniors, Preps, Colts and Festival will be on the main pitches on Wimbledon Common and the final rounds of the Girls and Open will be at Rosslyn Park on the Friday.

This year teams from all over the world will be joining their British counterparts including Lithuania (who are travelling by coach), Poland, Nigeria, who are being hosted by Colet Court (St Paul’s prep school), Bra?ov, Romania, who are being hosted by Ardingly College, Pascani Girls, Romania, who are being hosted by Benenden School, Canada and, hopefully, Future Hope from Calcutta.

Organiser Rose Tanner said: “Other teams from countries outside the UK are finding it increasingly difficult to compete because of internal political troubles, UK visa problems and the cost.

“We do try to find schools to accommodate ex-UK teams and would be grateful if any philanthropic head teachers reading this could get in touch for hosting such teams in the future.

“It is not one way traffic as the host schools in the past have found the experience of having foreign sides visiting incredibly rewarding.”

The majority of the current England and Wales squad cut their competitive teeth playing for their respective schools and the first ever World 7s Cup held at Murrayfield in 1993 saw some of the finest players who had played in the tournament.

These included A.Adebayo (Kelly College), N.Beal (RGS High Wycombe), Matt Dawson (RGS High Wycombe), J.Cassell (Dulwich College), Lawrence Dallaglio (Ampleforth) and Paul Sackey (John Fisher).

This year’s sponsors include RAM Rugby, Gilbert Rugby, Samurai International, Tsunami Sport, Canterbury NZ, as well as individuals and charities who provide financial support.

But Rose says the competition is still looking for a major sponsor.

She explains: “Perhaps people think it just happens because it is the blue riband of the youth rugby world. Unfortunately, just because we are, we don’t get the financial support we need and we do need serious backers.



“If anyone is interested in supporting youth rugby in any capacity and helping the world find future national players, please get in touch.”

More than 1100 matches will be played over the four-day tournament, officiated by 150 referees and competed by 7500 players.

Details for the draws for all six tournaments are available by visiting www.ns7.co.uk and results during tournament week will be updated each hour.

Further details can be obtained by emailing Rose on ns7s@btinternet.com


19.1.09

St. Peter's School, Gloucester, continue their march to Twickenham this week when the sixth round of the Daily Mail U18 Cup kicks-off.

The Gloucestershire school have booked their place in the last round before the quarter-finals get underway with victories over Wellington College (6-5), Wycliffe College (53-3), Crypt Grammar School (30-0), Sir Thomas Rich School (33-0) and Chosen Hill School (3-58).

Most noticeably, their win over Wellington College saw the reigning cup champs knocked out.

Dave Pointon, St Peter's head coach, said: “To beat Wellington College on their turf was a great achievement for the boys. No other side has done that this season. We beat them by the smallest of margins, but I think we deserved to win it.”

So does beating the reigning champions mean St. Peter's are now favourites to lift the illustrious schools' trophy? Not according to Pointon.

“Beating Wellington, and in turn knocking out the reigning champions, does of course give us a lot of confidence,” continued Pointon. “I think Wellington were favourites to win it again this season so that is a good result for us.

“We are, however, taking it one game at a time, but to say we were not in this competition to win it would be wrong.

“We have got a lovely bunch of lads in this squad and they are a pleasure to coach. They are all making vast improvements with each round so I think quite a few things are possible this season.”

Standing in the way of St. Peter's for a place in the quarter-finals is Wiltshire school Bishop Wordworth's.

The Salisbury outfit have beaten any previous record they held in the U18 Cup this season by reaching the sixth round, and some impressive performances against the likes of Dauntsey's School proves they deserve their place in the latter stages of the competition.

“At this stage we would be very disappointed to go out, but we have to give Bishop Wordworth's the credit they deserve,” added Pointon.

“They have had a good season. We have never played them before so I think it is marvellous that both teams are at this stage, and certainly we are looking forward to the sixth round.”

St. Peter's, who last won the Daily Mail U18 Cup in 2006, will have their challenge boosted by the inclusion of Michael Wilcox and Liam Wilkinson, who have both been named in the England U18s AER squad, while Bishop Wordworth's also have Tom Heathcote in the AER squad.


18.1.09

Sandwich Technology School, Sandwich Sports & Leisure Centre Trust and Freedomleisure have been successful in gaining funding from The Football Foundation to install a full size, third generation Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) at the school, which will be available for use by the local community.

Installation of the artificial pitch, which will be floodlit, will be completed in summer 2009.

One of the major benefits of the AGP is that it can be used year-round, whatever the weather, which significantly increases availability during the dark winter evenings.

Matt Hunt, area manager for Freedomleisure, who will manage the all-weather pitch on behalf of Sandwich Technology School, said: “We are delighted that the joint bid from all three parties has been successful and are very grateful to the Football Foundation for their financial support.

“This superb new facility will be a tremendous asset for the local community and will help promote greater participation in team sports and wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of Sandwich Technology School and Sandwich Sports & Leisure Centre Trust.”

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation said: “We warmly congratulate Sandwich Technology School, Sandwich Sports & Leisure Centre Trust and Freedom leisure for their hard work and dedication in securing this award.

“Sport is playing a central role in helping people to stay fit, strengthen communities and promote responsibility amongst young people.

“It is thanks to the funding from our partners the Premier League, The FA and Government that the Football Foundation exists to support this type of excellent project in Sandwich.”

Sandwich Technology School were also previously awarded two sets of free kit and equipment worth £400 each by the Football Foundation through the Foundation’s Junior Kit Scheme.

A capital grant of 60 per cent of a total project cost of £513,000 has been awarded for this project by the Football Foundation, the UK’s largest sports charity.

It is dedicated to revitalizing the grass roots of the game, constructing modern football facilities, developing football as a force for social cohesion and as a vehicle for education in communities throughout the country.

Funded by the Premier League, The Football Association and the Government, the Football Foundation has a £40m budget going straight into the heart of football.


17.1.09

With a more tangible prospect of an outing at Twickenham on Wednesday, April 1 starting to turn the screw on the survivors of the four Daily Mail Schools RU knockout competitions, what added value can be put on previous experience of negotiating the closing stages of the four sections?

The chance to play on Daily Mail Schools day at the most famous arena in world rugby is the stuff of dreams and as such, teams and coaches now still standing in the post-Christmas rounds will be starting to feel the heat.

For some, previous experience of going all the way will be a very useful tool to help guide anxious players and staff through the tension of the run-in through the semi-finals.

Others, of course, will be happy to be free of the previously-experienced pressure and content to be on a voyage if discovery and unfettered by the novelty of it all.

Some of the Northern survivors know what it is like to run out at Twickenham and emerge triumphant.

Lymm High School were U18 Vase winners in 2006 and have people in their corner who know how to handle the pressure.

They will also have players who won the U15 Cup in 2007 and contain a nucleus of players who have the T-shirt and know what awaits them - if they can continue their progress beyond Myerscough College in round Five.

QEGS Wakefield were strong favourites to win the U15 Cup in 2006, but were turned over by Bedford School.

That will be a potent inspiration for the lads who now have a round six place and a visit to the winners of the Lymm/Myerscough College tie.

Barnard Castle have tasted disappointment in large quantities in recent years in the U18 Cup - beaten in the final in 2003/4/7 - but a new breed of youngsters is on the way through and as predicted earlier, they are proving a force to be reckoned with.

They also have home advantage in round seven against Manchester Grammar, which should stand them in good stead.

Ermysted's from Skipton, who also have ground advantage against Ponteland in round six of the U15 Vase, were U18 Vase winners in 2007 and that experience will have excited fresh ambition ahead of the home game against Ponteland.

A good win of Bradford Grammar in round five underlines the calibre of the side, but Ponteland are also in new territory and sure to be fired up for the game.


16.1.09

Clevedon Community School may not be regular Daily Mail Cup protagonists, but if their past record of producing school boy internationals is anything to go by they shouldn't be taken lightly.

The North Somerset school has seen six of their boys go on to play schoolboy international rugby and beyond over the last ten years, most noticeably Huw Bennett, the Ospreys and Wales hooker, and Nathaniel Catt, who's currently with Guinness Premiership side Bath and was a regular starter for England U20s last season.

Clevedon, who last reached the final eight of the Daily Mail Cup last 11 years ago, are certainly setting the competition alight this season and this Wednesday January 21 they will bid to secure their place in the U15 Cup quarter-finals with a tough tie against Wellington College.

Master in charge of rugby David Owen, who co-coaches the team alongside Kevin McCarron, says much of Clevedon's success has been down to the sheer hard work and dedication of the players.

He said: “We are a fully comprehensive school and we only play other comprehensives in our area, so to get this far is fantastic. I am so proud of the boys.

“Their attitude is amazing, as is their work ethic. They were at the school at 7.30 this morning for training, and that's not unusual as they regularly do most of their training before and after school. That's real commitment for you.”

Clevedon booked their place in round seven after victories over Sherborne School (3-24), Kingsmead Community School (41-14), Colston's School (19-18), Beechen Cliffe School (7-17) and Priory Community School (41-12). Next they face the reigning U15 champions Wellington College.

Owen added: “Wellington obviously have an impressive reputation in this competition, and they are the reigning champions, but we are going to go there and really give them a game. The boys and the coaching staff are really looking forward to the match.

“To be honest we didn't expect to be in the seventh round, but hard work has got us here, so you never know what might happen. It's going to be a great test for us.”


15.1.09

Moulton College's director of rugby Jon Phillips faces a difficult selection decision ahead of the Daily Mail U18 Schools Cup sixth round home tie against Norwich School next Tuesday January 20.

Moulton had four players involved in the recent U18 Divisional Festival at Moseley and flanker Ollie Watson has been invited for trials with the Scottish Exiles.

But four of the quintet live outside a 25-mile radius of the college and competition regulations mean that Phillips will only be able to include three of them in his match squad of 22 against Norwich.

Lock Dan Brotherton, who played for the Midlands in the Divisional Festival, is not affected by the 25-mile radius ruling.

But one of Watson, scrum-half Mike Hogan- who played for London & SE in the Divisional Festival - and Midlands pair full-back Charlie Sadler and hooker Michael Haywood will be a frustrated spectator next Tuesday.

“The competition regulations mean that we can only include three players from outside a 25 mile radius of the school in our 22 so we have got a difficult choice to make,” said former Northampton Saints and Bedford Blues lock Phillips, who is now player/coach at Peterborough.

Moulton are benefiting from their close links with Northampton's Academy and are just one game away from the Daily Mail quarter-finals.

But Phillips is wary of a Norwich side that ousted Warwick School, winners two seasons ago and semi-finalists last year, in the fifth round.

“Some of our players come from Eastern Counties so they know a little bit about Norwich,” Phillips said.

“Warwick were one of the strongest teams in our group and probably the pre-season favourites to go through so you have got to respect any side that beats them.”

In the other half of the Midlands draw, the winners of the delayed Worcester Sixth Form College v Ellesmere College fifth round tie will have home advantage against St George's School from Harpenden.

Worcester are celebrating the selection of two of their players in England U18 squads announced recently.

Centre Andy Short, who is on the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence scheme run jointly by the College and Guinness Premiership club Worcester Warriors, has been included in the England U18 squad preparing for the forthcoming Six Nations tournament in Italy.

Number eight Matt Kvesic, who was capped by England U16s last season, is in the England U18 training squad for the AER Tournament in France in April.

(For a full report on the rugby academies threat to the rugby dominance of independent schools plus a double page progress report on the Daily Mail U18 and U15 Cups, see the latest edition of School Sport Magazine, which is out next Monday January 19)


14.1.09

Rugby School have suffered a blow ahead of their Daily Mail U15 Schools Cup seventh round tie at Bedford School next Monday January 19 with the news that full-back Theo McKibbin has been ruled out for the rest of the season by a knee injury.

McKibbin, one of Rugby's most influential players, ruptured a cruciate ligament in helping them secure a 22-12 home win over Bromsgrove School in the last round.

The full extent of the injury was not known at the time but McKibbin is likely to be sidelined for six months.

Though McKibbin's absence is a setback, Rugby's coach Trevor White still has two more players attached to the academy at Guinness Premiership club Northampton Saints to call on in scrum-half Sam Pointon and captain and number eight Ben Weigman.

Rugby also have a prolific try-scorer in right wing Jonathan Chin, a sprinter whose pace has regularly troubled opponents this season.

White knows what it is like to win the Daily Mail Schools Cup having coached the Whitgift side that won the U15 competition ten years ago.

He accepts that Bedford, a well-organised side who won the Cup three years ago, represent a formidable obstacle but Rugby have an added incentive.

They were beaten 24-7 at Bedford in the final game of last term, which was the last game of rugby they played.

“We had our half-backs missing for that game but I'm sure that Bedford will confident having beaten us recently,” White said.

“They had a very useful number eight but their biggest strength was that they looked a very good all-round side.”

Rugby are a one-term rugby school and their players have now switched to hockey or football.

But it is a problem that White faced when he was at Whitgift and he is not unduly concerned by the lack of match practice.

“We have only just come back after the Christmas holiday so we are a week later than most schools,” he said.

“We tried to get the boys back last Friday for training but the pitches were frozen. Not playing matches is not a problem because if you do progress in the Daily Mail the games come round pretty quickly.

“It's always possible to arrange matches against the age-group teams in the school. Time is the major issue but as the boys are all boarders, then you can always find a slot to prepare for these matches.

”In the other half of the Midlands draw, St George's School from Harpenden had an easy passage into the seventh round after Stamford School withdrew.

Stamford admitted playing an ineligible player earlier in the competition and so St George's now face a trip to Northampton School for Boys who defeated an in-form Adams GS 10-0 in Shropshire.


14.1.08

Two school teams travelled to the USA to take part in the inaugural Independent Schools Golf Association Las Vegas tour.

Campbell College, from Northern Ireland, and Gordonstoun, from Scotland, enjoying great golf and the experience of having a day’s tuition at the Butch Harmon School of Golf.

Players took part in five rounds of golf at some of the best courses in Las Vegas including TPC Canyons, home of the PGA Las Vegas.

During the day spent at the Butch Harmon School of Golf, the students had one-to-one swing analysis with the staff, along with a short game session, bunker sessions, long game and putting.

The students all received a Butch Harmon travel bag, engraved bag tag, shirt, hat and a signed book by Butch.

David Quin, ISGA chairman, organised the event with his wife Naya and Greg Labelle, the Butch Harmon School of Golf professional.

David said: “This has been a great experience for the students which can be seen by the great comments we received at the end of the tour.

“We even featured on local TV as the only people playing golf in the snow in Las Vegas. Fortunately we only lost one day’s golf to the heaviest snow in Las Vegas in 70 years.

The golf was interspersed with trips to various Vegas sights including a ride on the New York New York Rollercoaster, shopping and site-seeing along the Las Vegas strip.

The tour is due to go ahead again this December. More info and pictures of the tour can be seen on the website www.ISGA.org.uk


13.1.09

Worthing College are celebrating a first appearance in the last 16 of the Daily Mail Schools U18 Cup in the fourth year of the rugby academy at the Sussex sixth form establishment.Worthing scored four tries to defeat Sevenoaks 26-14 in the fifth round of the cup, with a home tie against John Fisher from Surrey up next and Paul Cox, the 1st XV coach, says the college have come a long way in a short period of time.“I remember the college's first ever game which was at Brighton College in the Daily Mail Cup when we lost 96-0 in the first round,” said Cox. “We went there after just two training sessions and took quite a hiding.“From 20 lads in our first year, the word has spread around the county and we have a strong intake of boys who can combine A levels or BTecs with their rugby training, conditioning and video analysis.

“About 80 per cent of the squad are from schools in the Worthing hub and 20 per cent from the wider area of Chichester, Bognor and Hove, with one lad who is up from Cornwall.”Cox is the manager of the Sports Academy at Worthing College which now offers eight sports after starting out with a successful pilot programme in rugby.Worthing are well represented in the Sussex county squad, they are top of the National Colleges South West/South East League - comprising Truro, Richmond, Collyers and Yeovil - and need a win against Richmond tomorrow to finish champions.

They are also county cup holders and won the Southern Sixth Form Cup last year.The sixth round tie against John Fisher will be staged at Worthing's home pitch which is at the town's leisure centre nearby.

“The pitch is in the middle of the athletics track,” said Cox, whose colleague Ben Coulson coaches Worthing's backs and the 2nd XV. “The boys have spent more time on the track than the pitch recently due to the turf being frozen.”

Worthing have a strong back row of county standard, with Jeremy Littlejohn, the captain, alongside Tom Lowe and Greg Bush, who scored one of the tries against Sevenoaks.

Eight of the school's team are likely to tour with Sussex Under 18s this summer to South Africa.

(For a full report on the rugby academies threat to the rugby dominance of independent schools plus a double page progress report on the Daily Mail U18 and U15 Cups, see the latest edition of School Sport Magazine, which is out next Monday)


12.1.09

Teachers, trainee and assistant teachers, and sport science students will be able to gain an understanding of the essential skills related to football coaching on a Football Association Teaching course at Canterbury Christ Church University.The six hour course for coaching primary school children is led by a Football Association tutor and will take place on Saturday January 31 from 10am to 4pm at the university’s gymnasium and at the Stodmarsh Playing Fields, Canterbury. Participants will learn how to organise a small football game with basic rules leading to a full game situation.

Lesson planning is covered in detail on the course and looks at progression in performance for coaching primary aged children.Upon successful completion of the course, participants receive the Football Association Teaching Certificate Key Stage 2, a recognised qualification in the teaching profession. Kim Debling, sport and recreation officer at the university, said: “We are delighted to be able to develop the essential skills of football coaching for participants regardless of their playing experience.

“The course is administered by FA Learning Qualifications and the qualification is recognised within the teaching profession.

“This course is excellent for non PE specialist primary teachers working in education and is especially good for those looking to enter the teaching profession.”The event is open to the public and costs £40 for students and £46 for non-students. No playing experience of football is required.

For more information and to reserve a place on the course contact Kim on 01227 782679 or kim.debling@canterbury.ac.uk


11.1.09

London Oratory School are hoping to continue a taxing but so far successful campaign in the Daily Mail Schools U15 Cup when they face Brighton College or The Judd School in the last 16.Kevin Moran, the London Oratory U15 coach, is planning a visit to Brighton to watch the outstanding sixth round tie and give his side the best possible preparation.They won five away ties in a row - including a notable 29-10 success at St Paul's School - before finally enjoying the comforts of home in Putney in the sixth round and a revenge win over Wimbledon College.“We turned the tables after a defeat to Wimbledon earlier in the season so that was heartening for the boys,” said Moran.“We were runners-up to Skinner's at Twickenham 15 years ago. We lost to Whitgift in 2003 when they won the cup with Danny Cipriani in their side and we have been in the last 16 three times, so this is a good year for us. “We would love to keep it going and get into the hat for the national draw. I've said to the boys that we have home advantage in this round again, and we've got to give it everything we can.”Seven of the London Oratory side - five forwards and two backs - missed school training this week to attend the monthly session at county level with Middlesex U15s.One of them was prolific wing Nick Ogbonna, who has 38 tries in 18 school matches.“The forwards are the strength of the team,” said Moran. “Tom Smallbone, the No 8 who is in the London Irish academy, is the captain and a good pack leader.“We reached the final of the Middlesex Cup, drawing 15-15 with St Paul's having been 12-0 down, which was ideal preparation a few days before the Daily Mail match with Wimbledon College.

“We have lost a couple of matches by small margins, and I think that has done the team good. I'm a firm believer that long unbeaten records can work against you. Sometimes you need to find out what it's like to lose, and use that to your advantage.”


10.1.09

Canterbury Christ Church University will give qualified and assistant teachers the opportunity to examine the key skills involved in teaching athletics on Saturday January 24. The one day course will highlight safe and inclusive teaching methodology before examining how to apply these skills to running, jumping and throwing events. Kim Debling, sport and recreation officer at the university, said: “The course is designed for those supporting the management and delivery of high quality sport and physical education in primary schools along with qualified and assistant teachers.

“It will participants develop competency in the fundamental movement skills that underpin athleticism.”The event, which will take place at the university’s gymnasium, will cost £35 for students and £40 for non-students.

For more information, or to book a place, contact Kim on 01227 782679 or kim.debling@canterbury.ac.uk


9.1.09

Shadow sports minister Hugh Robertson has blasted the Government for taking no action in the schools minibus row.

(For a full report, see the latest edition of School Sport Magazine, which is out on Monday January 19)


8.1.09

A new national inter-schools games will replace the current UK School Games if the Tories get into power.

(For a full report, see the latest edition of School Sport Magazine, which is out on Monday January 19)


 

• Encouraging excellence • Promoting participation